Bytedance, the parent company of popular social media app, TikTok, is set to shake up the virtual reality (VR) industry by investing large sums of money in VR ports. The company is trying to compete with Meta, the dominant player in the VR market, and has a lot of catching up to do. This move by Bytedance is an industry norm though, as developers often get paid to bring their existing apps to new platforms.
Bytedance Offers Top Dollar for VR Titles
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Bytedance has offered VR developers $15,000 to $25,000 per title to compete with Meta’s 500 VR app store. Bytedance has a VR device called Pico, which has about 300 VR apps on their store. To compete, Bytedance is investing heavily in new titles and exclusive content. This investment is a great opportunity for VR studios to make a good profit in the industry.
Meta Welcomes the Investment
Meta Quest 2 and Pico 4 share the same SoC and support the OpenXR standard. The porting of VR titles should therefore be limited, but Bytedance still has some catching up to do, especially in terms of exclusive titles. The competitors’ investment in VR studios is welcomed by Meta, as its director of content ecosystem, Chris Pruett, said that he wants all boats to rise.
While Bytedance is trying to catch up with Meta, some developers are still happy to see platform alternatives coming. App Lab, a less-curated store, is currently the only option for some developers for publishing their apps on the Meta Quest store. Ben Outram, a VR developer waiting for the release of his game “Squingle” on Meta Quest, is excited to see a major player like Bytedance joining the industry and challenging Facebook’s way of doing things.
Pico 4 is Struggling
Pico 4 was launched in Europe and several East Asian countries in September 2022, but it has yet to be released in the United States. A recent planned US launch of the VR device was reportedly cancelled at the last minute. According to a November 2022 report, Pico 4 has been selling below expectations, and the company is struggling with internal disputes due to the rapid growth of its workforce. Meanwhile, Meta is continuing to put pressure on Bytedance by lowering the price of the 256GB SKU of the Meta Quest 2.
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