TikTok parent company ‘disillusioned’ with game making

ByteDance closed its acquired game development studio three years ago, cutting more than 100 employees despite its previous ambition to challenge Tencent in the mobile game market.

ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, dissolved 101 Studio in Shanghai this week, laying off about half of its more than 300 employees and reassigning the rest, according to Bloomberg’s own sources. 101 Studio is one of several key game studios that ByteDance has bet on to expand beyond short video.

The event marks a significant step back for the once-booming gaming industry and also the first time ByteDance has had to shut down a division entirely. The company also owns another games division, but has scaled back during the months China froze game publishing, starting in the summer of 2021.

After disrupting the social media market with TikTok and Douyin, ByteDance is looking to follow in Tencent’s footsteps through mobile gaming. Games account for the majority of mobile app revenue in general and bring more users to related services such as payments and social networks. Tencent’s WeChat super app directs users to its huge game catalog and helps the company benefit from in-game shopping.

ByteDance’s Nuverse game division was founded in 2019, prioritizing “heavy” games. It continues to grow through the acquisition of publishing rights and game development studios, including 101 Studio. Under ByteDance, the team released a number of fighting and card games, but none of them were successful and resonated in the Chinese gaming market, which is dominated by Tencent and NetEase.

According to the source, some 101 Studio employees will be moving to Nuverse’s publishing department to work on some existing game projects. Meanwhile, ByteDance plans to let Pico – the virtual reality wearable maker it acquired last year – take over the VR game developed by 101 Studio.

Despite the great ambitions in the game market, China’s historic crackdown on Big Tech and domestic Internet enterprises in the past time has had a significant impact on ByteDance, while the economic downturn has affected ByteDance. core advertising business.

Also in 2021, ByteDance shut down most of its online tutoring operations, dissolved a venture capital group and sold a stock trading app to streamline operations.

Du Lam (According to Bloomberg)


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