Shortly after we wrote about the potential acquisition of Pico Interactive, a Chinese manufacturer of virtual reality headsets for enterprise and home customers, by ByteDance, the Chinese internet technology company behind TikTok, VR publication Nweon confirmed the rumor to actually be true.
“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 into the VR space and long-term investment in this emerging field,” said ByteDance representative in a statement.
Neither of the two companies shared the sum for which Pico was acquired, but the most commonly mentioned figure by various industry observers is 5 billion yuan ($771 million).
Pico’s hardware portfolio includes the Neo 3, a consumer-oriented headset that’s currently available only in China, and the Neo 3 Pro and Neo 3 Pro Eye, which are enterprise headsets with a replaceable and washable PU sterilizable face cushion. In the first quarter of 2021, Pico was the third-largest VR headset manufacturer in the world, achieving a year-over-year growth of 44.7%, according to IDC.
This isn’t the first acquisition of a VR manufacturer by a prominent internet technology company. Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion, and the social media giant has seen such amazing success with virtual reality that it now describes itself as a metaverse company.
Apple has also entered the VR arms race with its relatively recent acquisition of NextVR, and the tech giant is expected to release its first headset in the near future.
So far, virtual reality has seen the biggest success in the gaming industry, but its potential applications are virtually limitless. For this reason, some analysts believe that it will have the same impact on our lives as smartphones or even the internet.