Tencent calls for ‘Extended Reality’ unit, sets foot in Metaverse World

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China’s Tencent on Monday formally announced the formation of an ‘Extended Reality’ (XR) unit to its staff, with three people familiar with the matter saying it had officially bet on the concept of metavars in the virtual world.

The unit has been tasked with building an enhanced reality business for Tencent, including both software and hardware, sources said, adding that it will be led by Li Shen, chief technology officer at Tencent Games Global, and will be part of the company’s Interactive Entertainment business group.

Two sources said the unit would eventually have more than 300 employees, a liberal picture of how Tencent reduced costs and slowed recruitment. However, they warned that recruitment plans are still fluid, as the company will adjust the unit’s head count based on its performance.

The unit was first formed earlier this year but was shrouded in secrecy, three sources said.

Augmented Reality is a term that refers to immersive technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, which are seen as building blocks of metavers.

Tencent, China’s most valuable company, declined to comment.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who recently changed his name to Meta Platform, has announced that he will dedicate himself to building the future of his company. Investors, entrepreneurs and established tech giants around the world have joined Metawars. A metaverse

Companies from Microsoft to Disney have announced that they are also working on their own metavers, while Chinese and US companies ranging from BitDance to Apple, which owns Tiktok, are also building their headset units involved in XR technology.

The XR unit will mark a rare hardware trend for Tencent, known for most software such as game suites and social media applications.

A source said the unit was internally viewed as an emotional project by Tony’s founder and CEO Pony Ma, who highlighted the importance of the first metavars in late 2020, or what he called “all-real internet.”

The introduction of the new team stands in stark contrast to what is happening in other parts of Tencent, which is implementing cost control measures and scaling non-core businesses such as shuttering its Penguin Sports Unit to cope with the fall. From a regulator crackdown.

Tencent has remained public, neutral about its Metavers plans. Last November, it told analysts that it had plenty of “technology and capacity building blocks” to approach the Metaverse opportunity, but did not elaborate.

Thomson Reuters 2022




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