Tencent unveils Extended Reality Unit to form its own Metaverse
According to Reuters, Chinese technology and entertainment giant Tencent has announced its foray into the Metaverse by launching an Extended Reality unit. The division will be spearheaded by Tencent Games Global’s CTO Li Shen who will work on developing both software and hardware solutions to develop the metaverse.
Claiming the slice of the Metaverse pie
Looking to tap into the $8trillion market, Chinese tech giant Tencent is looking forward to adding 300 people to its XR division. This move has come as a surprise since Tencent announced earlier this year that it is likely to trim its workforce by up to 30%.
During an earnings call last year, Tencent’s President Martin Lau said that he expects Beijing to allow ‘virtual environment services’ provided they fall in line with China’s regulatory framework. Talking about the company’s vision of the metaverse, Tencent’s CEO Pony Ma Huateng added that it has an abundance of technology and expertise to develop the next evolution of the internet, also called web 3.0.
Although there is no concrete information about the direction of the new unit, a source states that the company is working on both software and a VR headset. Even though it is a rumor, it puts Tencent as a strong contender to compete with Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 and Pico’s VR headset owned by Tiktok’s parent company ByteDance.
What will Tencent’s Metaverse look like?
Given the fact that Tencent has businesses across main areas like video games, financial technologies, social platforms, and digital advertising, along with strategic investment in companies like Epic Games and Roblox, Tencent is expected to be the first mover in developing China’s Metaverse.
It was reported earlier this year that Tencent had filed a new patent application for organizing a virtual concert in WaveVR, a startup in which it acquired a strategic minority stake. This follows Tencent’s virtual event TMELAND, which was organized last year in December and saw more than 1.1 million fans across China.
Super QQ Show and the future of China's Metaverse
Moreover, earlier this year, Tencent added a metaverse feature called “super QQ Show” in order to resurrect its messaging platform QQ. The Super QQ Show allows users to play games, socialize, and watch shows. According to analysts, the update marks Tencent’s latest efforts in creating the metaverse.
Despite the Chinese government taking aim at NFTs and the Metaverse and deeming them a societal risk, many companies in China are moving fast into the Metaverse realm. However, with the government’s strict regulations, players across the country are going to have different experiences.