ByteDance says to restructure Nuverse in retreat from gaming business

By Josh Ye

HONG KONG (Reuters) – TikTok maker ByteDance plans to wind down its Nuverse gaming brand and retreat from mainstream video games, four people familiar with the matter said.

ByteDance told Reuters it had decided to restructure its gaming business after a review, without giving further details.

“We regularly review our businesses and make adjustments to centre on long-term strategic growth areas. Following a recent review, we’ve made the difficult decision to restructure our gaming business,” the spokeperson said.

The sources said ByteDance will tell employees on Monday to stop working on unreleased games by December, and that it will look for ways to divest from titles already launched.

The decision is likely to impact hundreds of employees, some of whom learnt about the move at the weekend, the people said.

The Chinese technology firm has no plan to return to the $185 billion global video games market, they added, declining to be identified as the information was not public.

Casual gaming brand Ohayoo, whose games feature on Douyin – TikTok’s sister app in China – will not be affected, neither will casual games that run on TikTok, one of the people said.

Reuters reported this month that ByteDance had started seeking buyers for game developing subsidiary Moonton Technology. It also overhauled its virtual reality company Pico, cutting much of its content team.

ByteDance says to restructure Nuverse in retreat from gaming business
FILE PHOTO: The ByteDance logo is seen at the company’s office building in Shanghai, China, July 4, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song

ByteDance’s 2019 creation of Nuverse was widely seen as a major push into global gaming and a strategic element of its competition with domestic rival Tencent Holdings, the world’s biggest gaming company.

But Nuverse’s performance has been patchy. Its best-known game is “Marvel Snap”, an online card game that amassed a cult following but was not a commercial hit.

Other titles include action games “One Piece: The Voyage” and “Crystal of Atland”.

Nuverse came into focus again in 2021 when ByteDance formalised its status as one of its six business units under a broader structural overhaul.

To build up production capacity, Nuverse acquired external studios including C4games in 2021.