ByteDance Paying Good Money for VR Ports in a Bid to Boost Own Ecosystem
According to a Wall Street Journal report, ByteDance is keen on catching up with Meta in the content department and it is trying to accomplish this by paying software developers to port apps to its virtual reality ecosystem.
The Wall Street Journal reports that ByteDance is offering to pay VR developers that have developed content for the Meta Platforms ecosystem to port these VR titles into its rapidly growing Pico headsets.
ByteDance is reportedly offering virtual reality developers incentives ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 per title for ports. The company has justified this practice as an industry norm.
Both Meta Quest 2 and ByteDance’s Pico 4 use the same system-on-chip (SoC). The two headsets also support the OpenXR standard. Porting titles from Meta to the Pico ecosystem should, therefore, be a seamless process.
The Pico Store has roughly 300 virtual reality apps compared to the 500 VR apps in the Meta Quest Store. In spite of its aggressive catch-up play, Pico still has some miles to cover, particularly when it comes to exclusive titles where Meta has a solid advantage.
Meta welcomes the competition and sees ByteDance’s incentives as a net positive for the industry. According to Meta’s director of content ecosystem Chris Pruett, ByteDance’s entry into the industry and its funding of developers is a positive for the industry as “all boats rise.”
Meta says it has funded the development of 300 Quest apps and that there are an extra 150 titles in development.
Meta Quest Store notoriously has a stringent content curation policy and some developers have had difficulty publishing their content on the Meta Quest Store, forcing them to opt for the alternative App Lab where content isn’t strictly curated. No doubt, there are some developers who will be happy to see the emergence of new and robust platform alternatives like the Pico ecosystem that can give Meta a run for its money.
No U.S. Launch on the Radar for Pico 4 Headset
There were recent reports that ByteDance paused the U.S. launch of its Pico headsets following the recent congressional hearings into TikTok. There is still no word on when the company plans to release the headset in the U.S. market. Pico 4 has already been launched in Europe and several countries in East Asia.
A November 2022 report stated that the Pico 4 headset was not meeting sales expectations. There are also reports that Pico is grappling with internal disputes following the fast growth of its workforce.
Meta is facing its own sets of challenges in its XR ambitions but it continues to pile pressure in the market with price cuts, subsidies, and new products lined up for release over the next two years.