PICO Starts Small-Scale Layoffs, New Products to Be Unveiled in April
PICO, a VR brand acquired by ByteDance, will launch two new products in the near future, one of which will be the PICO 4 Pro, to be launched in April or May, and the other is a low-end version based on the PICO Neo 3 for the lower-end market, Tech Planet reported.
The road to listing of the PICO 4 Pro has given the company some trouble. According to a PICO employee, the PICO 4 Pro was expected to be launched in 2022, but because some of the necessary research and development work was not yet finished, the release time was postponed until the end of February this year. Now it has been postponed again.
Recently, there have been rumors that PICO has begun to adjust its personnel. The PICO team is currently about 2,000 people, and the layoff ratio is between 20%-30%, which means that nearly 400-600 people will be cut. In response, PICO said that organizational adjustment has been carried out but that the actual layoff ratio is lower than what rumors are saying.
While Meta is using its Oculus, its VR product, as the key to exploring the metaverse business, ByteDance is using its own product, which is PICO. The Wall Street Journal reported that in the third quarter of 2022, Meta’s market share dropped to about 75%, while PICO’s market share reached about 15%.
At first, Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, attached great importance to the development of PICO. A former employee of PICO said that, at the beginning, Zhang would personally attend the bimonthly meeting of PICO and listen to reports from various executives. With the PICO’s acquisition totaling 9 billion yuan ($1.31 billion), ByteDance has so far spent about 20 billion yuan on PICO. But for every PICO device sold, the loss is about 1000-3000 yuan. In this regard, PICO said that it does not conform to the actual situation. As for the investment of 20 billion yuan, PICO said it would not comment on the matter.
ByteDance’s planning for PICO includes global expansion. At present, PICO has covered Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, and will enter South America and the United States.
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Henry Zhou, the founder of PICO, said last year that the sales target of PICO 4 is more than 1 million units, and the PICO Neo 3 had achieved sales of 500,000 units by the second quarter of 2022. According to former employees of PICO, the domestic sales target of PICO in 2022 is 1 million units, but, in reality, the company only completed sales of 700,000-800,000 units in 2022.
After encountering practical challenges, PICO aimed to become a bit more pragmatic. Former employees have said that Zhang has rarely attended the bimonthly meetings in recent months, and executives thought that the previous judgment on the VR industry was too optimistic. As a result, the company would reduce its expectations and resource investment for PICO this year.