ByteDance is taking a crack at the metaverse.
TikTok’s Beijing-based parent has acquired Pico Interactive, a virtual reality company best known for its line of Neo headsets.
Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, but Chinese virtual reality publication VR Tuoluo reports the purchase price may have been five million won, or around $775 million. That figure sounds plausible, considering Pico is the third largest maker of VR headsets globally, after Facebook’s Oculus and DPVR. (And considering Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion back in 2014.)
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To date, Pico has raised $62.1 million in capital from investors in the United States and China. Its most recent round, a Series B in March 2021, raised $37.4 million.
In a statement, ByteDance said that Pico’s “comprehensive suite of software and hardware technologies, as well as the talent and deep expertise of the team, will support both our entry to the VR space and long-term investment in this emerging field.”
A company spokesperson told CNBC that ByteDance is “optimistic about the future of VR and its alignment with our mission.”
How Pico’s acquisition could benefit TikTok remains to be seen. Whether Pico’s tech is integrated into the app or not, though, it’s clear that ByteDance aims to build itself up as a challenger for platforms like Facebook and YouTube in more ways than extending TikTok’s maximum video length.
Pico is the last in a line of ByteDance pickups; its last buy was Moonton, a major mobile gaming studio, for which it paid $4 billion this past March.