What just happened? ByteDance, the Chinese multinational tech company best known as the face behind TikTok, is officially jumping into the metaverse. CNBC has confirmed that ByteDance has agreed to purchase virtual reality start-up Pico. Financial terms of the deal, which was first rumored by Chinese publication Nweon days ago, were not revealed.
In a statement shared with CNBC, ByteDance said Pico’s suite of software and hardware technologies, as well as its deeply talented team, will help support their long-term investment in the emerging field of VR.
Pico might not be a name you’re heard before, but folks in the VR industry are certainly familiar with the start-up. According to IDC, Pico was the third largest VR headset maker worldwide in the second quarter of 2021, and managed to grow shipments by 44.7 percent year over year.
ByteDance has been looking to diversify a bit as of late. Last year, the company launched its first hardware product in the form of a smart lamp packing a touchscreen display and two cameras. A few months later, it scooped up mobile gaming studio Moonton in a deal that Reuters cites as being valued at $4 billion.
With a VR start-up in its portfolio, ByteDance could be preparing to square off with Facebook’s Oculus VR division in the burgeoning space. And with Apple recently getting involved alongside a host of other established players, we could finally start to see some serious progress in the next few years.
Image credit Zhang Canlong, Visual China Group