TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has made its first step into virtual reality (VR) by buying a VR headset maker start-up called Pico.
Remarkably, the financial details of the deal had not been revealed. ByteDance announced that Pico’s comprehensive suite of software and hardware technologies and the talent and deep expertise of the team would assist entry to the VR space and long-term investment in this emerging field.
Significantly, Pico was the third-biggest virtual reality headset maker globally in the first quarter of the year. Notably, shipments of PIco increased by 44.7% year on year.
However, there was no proof that ByteDance will be growing Pico’s business outside of the Chinese market. As we know, it is known for its Neo lineup of standalone virtual reality headsets, Pico Neo 3. Currently, the firm sells it as a consumer product with games in China. However, ByteDance sells Pico Neo 3 only as an enterprise-focused ‘Pro’ device in North America and Europe. There’s also an upgraded model called Pico Neo 3 Eye sold to businesses too.
Notably, the company gained success with the short video app TikTok, the Chinese version Douyin, and the news aggregation app Toutiao.
ByteDance’s Acquisition of Pico Indicates that The Company Diversifies Its Business
Its acquisition of Pico indicates that the firm diversifies its business. Earlier in March, ByteDance purchased a major mobile gaming studio called Moonton for $4 billion. The company looks to expand into gaming.
A company could present the first significant opponent to Facebook’s Oculus Quest. Other companies, such as Sony, Valve, and HTC, make great VR headsets. However, they’re tethered to more expensive machines like PCs and consoles or exclusively sold to the enterprise market. In 2020, Apple acquired NextVR, a virtual reality firm. That sparked speculation that the firm could be working on its own VR headsets.
A ByteDance spokesperson reported that they are optimistic about the future of VR and its alignment with their mission. Pico had raised some $62 million in venture funding from Chinese companies, including a $37 million Series B in March. Remarkably, they create hardware and software for their VR devices. Moreover, they have a substantial presence in China.
Pico does not have the same recognition as Oculus or HTC. However, it is a top VR hardware maker, selling to consumer audiences in China and enterprise customers in the Western world.