ByteDance reportedly halted the US launch of Pico 4 due to the TikTok hearing.
On Monday Pico seemingly teased a big announcement on Twitter, writing “A new journey begins” on “22 March 2023” with the hashtag #PICO4. But come Wednesday, nothing was announced.
The Verge’s Sean Hollister reports a Pico employee told him the company planned to release Pico 4 in the US, but decided to wait because of the congressional hearing regarding a possible ban or forced sale of TikTok. The hearing was announced on Wednesday and took place on Thursday. US lawmakers are concerned about possible Chinese government access to user data and influence over the content recommendation algorithm. ByteDance, the Chinese tech giant behind TikTok, acquired Pico in 2021.
Pico 4 launched in October as the first serious competitor to Meta’s Quest 2, but it’s currently not officially sold in North America. It’s powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 processor used in Quest 2 but has a range of improvements: a slimmer and lighter design, higher resolution, wider and taller field of view, color passthrough, precise motorized lens separation, and controllers with high fidelity haptics.
While a significant chunk of Quest’s content library has been ported over, ByteDance has yet to offer standalone exclusive titles to match the likes of Meta’s Beat Saber, Resident Evil 4, Population: ONE, Onward, and Iron Man VR. Pico announced its first major exclusive, Just Dance VR, last year, set for a 2023 release.