ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, has stepped into the world of virtual reality with the acquisition of startup Pico, which was the third-largest VR headset maker globally in the first quarter of 2021.
In an official statement, ByteDance said Pico’s comprehensive suite of software and hardware technologies, as well as the talent and deep expertise of the team, will support both the company’s entry to the VR space and long-term investment in this emerging field. “We are optimistic about the future of VR and its alignment with our mission,” said a ByteDance spokeswoman.
This is ByteDance’s efforts to diversify its business. The company made its mark with the success of the now popular short video app TikTok and news aggregation app Toutiao. And a couple of months ago in March, it acquired a major mobile gaming studio called Moonton for $4 billion.
With the acquisition of Pico, a deal worth USD 772 million, ByteDance has stepped into the league of tech firms with the likes of Apple, Huawei Technologies and Facebook. Claire Zhao, IDC analyst, said the investment and support of internet companies are beneficial for the VR industry because of their contents and new technologies.
Pico Interactive was established by Henry Zhou Hongwei in 2015. It employs about 300 people and has offices in China, the United States, Spain, South Korea and Japan. Zhou had said the company would continue to invest in VR gaming and other consumer applications as it explores enterprise products. According to South China Morning Post, the company completed its B and B+ round of financing in March, having raised USD 67.23 million.
IDC, in its June report, highlighted that Pico Interactive ranked third in the VR headset market, following Facebook and Chinese company DPVR, with HTC and Sony rounding out the list. The company’s flagship VR headset NeoPro has some impressive stats. It boasts a 4K display and a 72/90hz refresh rate which, while lower than the Oculus Quest 2 for example, is still a solid rate for business to business purposes. With the addition of eye-tracking, Pico has the potential to take the VR world by storm.