TikTok owner ByteDance buys a virtual reality hardware startup: TechCrunch

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, seems to be looking for a single Facebook anywhere it can. After seizing the mantle of the world’s most downloaded social networking app with TikTok, ByteDance comes to light on Facebook, buying its own virtual reality headset maker called Pico.

The deal Bloomberg first reported last week was confirmed by the company on Monday, though ByteDance did not disclose a price for the deal. Pico had raised about $ 62 million in financing from Chinese companies, including the $ 37 million B-series in March. Like Oculus, they create hardware and software for their virtual reality devices. Unlike Oculus, they have a substantial presence in China. Pico may not have the same name recognition as Oculus or HTC, but the company is a top-notch VR hardware manufacturer, selling to the consumer public in China and business customers in the Western world.

With Pico finding his home now at ByteDance, two of the world’s largest virtual reality brands now reside on social media companies. Ironically, many of the company’s American customers I’ve talked to over the years seem to have at least partially opted for Pico headphones over Oculus hardware due to the general fatigue of Facebook data and ad-dependent business models. , which they fear Oculus will end up becoming a bigger part of.

It’s no secret that the virtual reality market has been slow out the door, but Facebook has paved the way for technology, pouring billions of dollars into an ecosystem where traditional investors seem disinterested in recent years. .

Without knowing the general terms of the agreement (I’m wondering), it’s hard to determine if this is a resurgence moment for virtual reality or another sign of a contracting market. What I find most likely is that ByteDance is really interested in building a consumer VR brand and aims to follow in the footsteps of Facebook closely, while learning from its missteps and leveraging its contributions to the ecosystem. If ByteDance will have to address whether the company focuses exclusively on consumer markets in China or freely pursues business customers in the state.

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