Bytedance, the unlisted Chinese tech giant that owns TikTok, is poised to slash part of its games operations, including Nuverse, which publishes ‘Marvel Snap,’ according to financial news sources.
News was reported by Bloomberg, Reuters and other tech news providers The Information and The Verge on Monday that Bytedance will retreat from its mainstream video games operation with the loss of some 1,000 jobs.
“We regularly review our businesses and make adjustments to centre on long-term strategic growth areas,” a ByteDance representative said in a statement sent to some media. “Following a recent review, we’ve made the difficult decision to restructure our gaming business.” Variety has also reached out to Bytedance for comment.
Nuverse, the unit for most of Bytedance’s games, is understood to have told employees that it will halt nearly all games that have not yet launched. And two of its recently- launched titles – anime-style role-playing game “Crystal of Atlan” and survival game “Earth: Revival” – may be sold to other publishers. It plans to keep the smaller social games activities that can be played within Douyin, the Chinese twin of TikTok.
‘Marvel Snap’ is a digital collectible card game developed by Second Dinner and published by Nuverse.
Bloomberg also reported that Bytedance is considering selling Shanghai Moonton Technology, a games company it paid $4 billion for in 2021.
The moves would re-focus Bytedance on social video – Tiktok and Douyin – and e-commerce. It has also made moves into music streaming and AI this year.
Games have been increasingly heavily regulated within China over the past three years, with authorities increasingly stringent about protecting young users’ health. They have intervened by delaying new license approvals or permits allowing monetization and the introduction of requirements that platforms limit game-play by minors. The cycle of regulation may now have turned more favorable and permits are being green-lighted again, but analysts suggest that the games market is headed for slower growth than in recent times.
Bytedance is privately-held and is not required to publicly disclose its financial position. However, occasional disclosures to investors have been reported by financial media. These show that Bytedance is approaching Facebook owner Meta in term of revenue. The company was reported as having $85 billion of revenue in 2022, while revenue for the first half of 2023 was reported as $54 billion.