TikTok Proprietor’s VR Headset Firm Lays Off Tons of of Workers

People walk in front of a giant advertisement light box shows PICO VR headset by Douyin or TikTok in Wangjing subway station in Beijing.

Pico headsets are nonetheless one of many fundamental VR gadgets offered outdoors the U.S. Now, the corporate is reportedly refocusing its efforts on {hardware} whereas drastically scaling again VR software program.
Photograph: zhangjin_net (Shutterstock)

ByteDance, the China-based firm that owns TikTok in addition to one of many largest abroad VR makers, Pico, is taking an extended have a look at its VR headset enterprise, discovering that each one these metaverse champions had been manner too “optimistic” of their estimation that digital actuality would take over the world.

Pico Interactive CEO Zhou Hongwei reportedly advised employees in a companywide assembly that they’ll be making sweeping modifications to how the corporate will make headsets going ahead. He advised employees that the corporate’s earlier estimation of the business’s market development was “too optimistic,” in line with a report from Reuters in line with three nameless sources.

Pico’s {hardware} group shall be shifting on to creating new know-how. Nonetheless, the corporate is slashing and burning its software program group, chopping employees or folding them again into ByteDance’s bigger product improvement group. The nameless sources advised Reuters the headset maker might lower “tons of” of jobs. Gizmodo reached out to ByteDance for remark and clarification on job cuts, however we didn’t instantly hear again.

“The VR business stays in a really early stage,” Hongwei reportedly advised employees whereas noting it might lay off gross sales, movies, and platform operation employees.

Final month, Pico was telling anyone who would pay attention that it wasn’t executed but making VR. This was regardless of stories from some evaluation corporations that ByteDance needed to desert its plans for digital actuality. ByteDance initially purchased Pico for an undisclosed quantity, rumored to be greater than $1 billion in 2021. This was simply as Fb was rechristening itself “Meta” and was selling its loss-leading Meta Quest 2 headset.

Pico launched its Pico 4 headset final 12 months, however this 12 months, the corporate has but to have large {hardware} bulletins to share. Pico then reportedly laid off round 200 employees again in February.

If the VR business continues to be in its early levels, then firms like Meta might want to spend billions of {dollars} extra to see their grand VR/AR ambitions come to fruition. Meta simply launched its Meta Quest 3 headset, although we’ve but to see how gross sales stack up towards the Quest 2. To this point, it’s not trying very optimistic, as analysts suspect the corporate will ship far fewer headsets this 12 months than the corporate had beforehand. On the similar time, the corporate reported $3.7 billion in third-quarter losses for its VR-focused Actuality Labs division on the finish of final month. That brings the division to $21 billion in losses for the reason that begin of 2022.