ByteDance, the company that owns popular short-video platform TikTok is apparently readying a major push into mobile gaming and the company has giants in the space — Tencent, in its crosshairs.
As per a report by Bloomberg, ByteDance has quickly built a full-fledged gaming division, from ground up, to lead its entry into gaming and hardcore mobile gaming at that, according to people familiar with the matter. the report claims that Bytedance used the past few months to buy up gaming studios and exclusive title distribution rights before starting on a hiring spree and building a team of more than 1,000 strong. This also apparantly included poaching on employees from rival companies to gain a jumpstart.
The past few years has seen ByteDance oversee the launch of a number of casual games that have grown popular with the help of its video platforms, but those quick hits made money mostly through ads. Its new foray into gaming involves a much bigger investment and is shaping up to be a major strategic shift, targeting more committed gamers who will splurge on in-game weapons, cosmetics and other perks.
“Having fully established itself as a leader in short video with over one billion users across its apps, ByteDance is now building multiple game studios by acquiring experienced game developers and talent,” said Daniel Ahmad, analyst with Asia-focused gaming research firm Niko Partners. “Its massive global user base and investment in gaming could make it a big disruptor in the gaming space this year.”
Considering this is the first time we’re hearing about ByteDance getting into the mobile gaming space, you wouldn’t expect to learn more about it, but Bloomberg’s sources had additional juicy bits of information to share as well. Apparently, the first two games from ByteDance’s gaming wing will be released this spring, both of which target ‘both local and overseas players’.
Compared to Facebook, very often because of TikTok’s incredible popularity, ByteDance is looking to expand its revenue streams but gaming isn’t the only market its planning to enter. It recently made a foray into music streaming as well, launching its very own music app called Resso.
The reason why ByteDance is staring at an uphill task at hand though, is because gaming in China has been Tencent’s area of dominance for a fairly long time. NetEase is one of the only other companies that competes with Tencent in the space, but they’re nowhere close to catching up with Tencent. That said, ByteDance is perhaps one of the only ones out there, capable of upsetting Tencent’s supremacy.
The Chinese company which also currently holds the title of being the ‘world’s most valuable startup’, began as a popular news aggregator with the Toutiao app in China before setting the world ablaze with short-form video sharing on TikTok and its Chinese twin app Douyin.