TikTok company Bytedance strengthens VR initiative – report
Pico management gets reinforcement from TikTok veterans.
Bytedance managers Song Binghua and Wu Zuomin, who are responsible for entertainment content at TikTok (Douyin in China), are to move to the newly acquired VR company Pico.
They will be accompanied by Ren Lifeng, a co-developer at Douyin who most recently led the Bytedance video app Xigua. Xigua Video is an online video sharing platform that also produces its own movies and series. The platform has more than 100 million monthly users.
Bytedance prepares for possible XR future
The acquisition of Pico, the management reshuffle, and the most recently announced partnership with Qualcomm show that Bytedance wants to at least be strategic about Meta’s Metaverse bet and be prepared in case it pans out.
In this way, Bytedance is doing the same as many other Chinese companies that are securing patents and ideas around the Metaverse. However, the Pico acquisition clearly stands out in the VR context. For TikTok, Bytedance has also been offering AR effects and development tools for quite some time, comparable to Meta’s Instagram AR.
Since Bytedance’s acquisition of Pico, the VR team is said to have grown by about 100 people, from 200 to 300 employees. By comparison, Meta has more than 10,000 employees working on XR technology. And there are to be even more, even if the losses are currently enormous, more than ten billion US dollars in the last fiscal year alone.
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VR competition: Meta still plays in another league
It is accurate that Pico’s standalone VR headsets are among the most successful and highest-quality devices on the market, along with those from HTC and Meta. In terms of total sales volume, however, Meta is probably ahead by many millions of units with its Quest series.
The Chinese website Late Post reports, as does the South China Morning Post, citing internal sources about the management change at Pico. In addition, Late Post still wants to know Pico’s sales figures: According to the report, the company sold a total of about 500,000 VR goggles last year. Meta is estimated to have sold up to ten million Quest 2 VR headsets.
Nevertheless, Pico wants to sell twice as many VR headsets this year and reach the one million mark. Bytedance is said to want to strengthen Pico’s content offering in particular. Currently, Pico obtains content from only about 500 providers, while Meta’s is many times that number.