By Josh Ye
HONG KONG (Reuters) -TikTok maker ByteDance is set to internally announce on Monday the winding down of its Nuverse gaming brand and full retreat from mainstream video games, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Chinese technology firm has no plan to return to the $185 billion global video games market, said the people, who declined to be identified as the information is not public.
ByteDance will tell employees to stop working on unreleased games by December, and that it will look for ways to divest from titles already launched, the people said.
The decision is likely to impact hundreds of employees, some of whom learnt about the move at the weekend, the people said.
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.
ByteDance did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
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’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.
(Reporting by Josh Ye; Editing by Brenda Goh and Christopher Cushing)