There were rumors circulating late last month that TikTok parent company ByteDance was set to spin down its China-based VR headset company, Pico Interactive. While the company dismissed those rumors, a new Reuters report maintains Pico is soon set to lay off teams focused on sales, videos and platform operations, which could affect “hundreds” of employees.
Citing three people with direct knowledge of the matter, the report maintains the information comes from an internal meeting from earlier this morning wherein it was allegedly revealed Pico is keeping its VR hardware team whilst folding much of its software team back into ByteDance’s own product development team.
Reuters reports Pico’s CEO Zhou Hongwei said at the meeting that “the VR industry remains in a very early stage,” saying the company’s estimation for the industry and market growth was “too optimistic as (real growth) did not go as fast as expected.”
It’s not clear how many Pico employees will be laid off, however the report maintains that “hundreds” of staff are expected to be affected globally. Pico additionally confirmed to Reuters it was restructuring the business to focus more on hardware and core technologies, but declined to comment on possible job cuts.
Acquired by TikTok parent company ByteDance in 2021, Pico was tapped to take on Meta with its growing line of standalone VR headsets. Launched about a year ago, the company’s latest headset Pico 4 offered up some pretty compelling specs alongside what is now around 75 percent of the game library available on Quest.
The company’s long-awaited entrance into the US market has still yet to come though, as Pico has only released its consumer-focused headsets in Europe and East Asia (China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore).