Tencent to explore metaverse with extended reality unit
China’s Tencent Holdings has formed an extended reality (XR) unit to explore software and hardware products for future metaverse solutions.
The new XR division, which will employ over 300 staffs, is part of Tencent’s Interactive Entertainment Group, and it is headed by Li Shen, Chief Technology Officer of Tencent Games.
The move was initially reported by Cailian Press, Tencent’s senior vice president Steven Ma later confirmed the move in an interview with local media.
According to Steven Ma, Tencent will actively seek for opportunities in the next 4-5 years to development in software, content, systems, SDK tools, hardware to create virtual reality experiences which can be industry standards.
Extended reality is a term that ties immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) together and consider to be a key part of the emerging metaverse innovation.
As 5g and even 6g rolls out, it’ll increase internet speed, which could enable a seamless link between our real world and the metaverse. Software, device makers, tool builders like game engine companies will benefit from Metaverse going forward.
Tencent Holdings, which runs the world’s largest video gaming business by revenue and China’s largest messaging app WeChat, got an early entry into metaverse after becoming the China distributor of metaverse sandbox game Roblox in 2019. In September 2021, it filed nearly 100 metaverse-related trademarks including “QQ Metaverse”, “QQ Music Metaverse” and “Kings Metaverse”.
Founder and CEO Pony Ma highlighted back in 2020 the importance of the metaverse, calling it an “all-real internet.”
Game has long been the backbone of Metaverse, games like roblox and Pokémon Go give us a preview of what a 3D virtual world looks like and how virtual reality technologies was well applied in a game.
With regard to future of games, Steven Ma said “We need to expand the meaning of video games. You used to use a mouse, keyboard, or gamepad to play a game, now you have VR and AR, and in the future, there will be more operational modes to play a game. Video games provide a broader way to connect people with society, which could create value in real life. A lot of content in video games has become reality. We expect this digital reality would connect the virtual world with reality, while driving the technology advancement and creating more possibilities. I think this is also the mission of Tencent Games.”