Pico Interactive Announces Standalone VR Headset to Compete with Google, Facebook’s Oculus Rift
Long the future destination ever on a nearer horizon, the promise of virtual reality in video games has followed the industry since it really started taking off in the 1980s. The emergence of the niche in the past several years as a true power player has led to a veritable arms race among the major tech companies and it doesn’t look like it will slow down any time soon.
The virtual reality race is about to gain another competitor as China-based Pico Interactive throws the gauntlet down in its effort to challenge industry leaders Google and Facebook’s Oculus Rift with their as yet unnamed standalone VR headset.
Led by GF Qianhe and GF Xinde Investment, Pico Interactive raised $24.7 million in Series A funding to launch their virtual reality project in an effort that hopes to match the big guys in features, research and development, and consumer cost. A tall order, indeed, but the folks over at Pico Interactive seem confident their company can pull it off.
The fundraising effort was impressive and signals the company’s seriousness when it comes to making a play for the VR market. The first funds raised since 2015, Pico Interactive hopes that carving out a niche for itself as a standalone device manufacturer will be the competitive advantage that allows it to compete with the bigger players.
Currently, self-contained, standalone devices are not as favored by the market due to their relative cost when compared to those VR units that utilize other equipment to operate.
Pico Interactive hopes to shave this cost and make the form factor more appealing on a mass consumer level, eschewing the need for external equipment entirely.
As demand for VR headsets has grown, Oculus Rift, in particular, has aggressively slashed prices to keep its units competitive which has led to a situation in which most analysts think that space is too competitive for newcomers like Pico Interactive.
But standalone units, that might just be the company’s ticket to success.
Following the company’s fundraising announcement Pico Interactive also showed off some new units it has planned for launch in the Chinese domestic market in the near future. Labeled the Pico G2, this virtual reality headset intended for sale in the PRC consumer market utilizes an updated version of the Pico Goblin based on Qualcomm’s 835 chipsets.
Further, the Pico G2 should make use of HTC’s Vive Wave Platform. Cementing its hold on the emerging interactive media market, Pico Interactive also lightly detailed plans for a new augmented reality device that it plans on launching in the Chinese market sometime in the future. Whether or not Pico Interactive will be able to bring the heat in the VR market against its much more established – and deep-pocketed – competitors remain to be seen but one thing is certain and that is that the company is hustling and making all the moves necessary to stay relevant in a rapidly changing industry.