ByteDance may have bitten off more than it can chew, and this realization is now impacting hundreds of employees in China. The TikTok parent company started investing in mobile game development a few months ago. However, it’s had to reduce employees in two studios while doing some internal shuffling.
South China Morning Post was one of the first to notice the ByteDance issue. With the TikTok parent company based in China, Wushuang Studio in Shanghai and Jianang Studio in Hangzhou both saw game development come to a halt as jobs were cut. While the Shanghai headquarters remains largely unaffected, the focus will be on games already released to the general public.
TikTok had already presented some in-app gamers to members after ByteDance invested in gaming. The initial audience was Vietnam with mini-games available for streaming. Nuverse appeared as a standalone company under the ByteDance umbrella, designed to solely manage the gaming component.
Why is ByteDance now shifting its attention away from game development? According to the South China Morning Post article, it has to do with China cracking down on game developers. The government has actively been limiting licenses for game development so it can ensure no one putting the country in a bad light.
Basically, the Chinese government started censoring content in top games like Genshin Impact. However, we’ve also seen companies like Snapchat decide it’s no longer interested in the gaming industry, choosing to focus on other avenues for revenue.
Perhaps the obvious solution is that social network and chat apps like TikTok should concentrate on what they were built to do. Instead of trying to harvest the rewards of other industries, just add new features that are connected to the app. Hopefully, Netflix learns this lesson soon, despite it increasing its games with hardly anyone playing them.