Tencent Said to Form ‘Extended Reality’ Unit, Steps Into Metaverse World

China’s Tencent introduced to its employees on Monday the official formation of an ‘prolonged actuality’ (XR) unit, three individuals conversant in the matter stated, formally putting its bets on the metaverse idea of digital worlds.

The unit is tasked with increase the prolonged actuality enterprise for Tencent together with each software program and {hardware}, the sources stated, including that it is going to be led by Tencent Video games International’s Chief Expertise Officer Li Shen and will likely be a part of the corporate’s Interactive Leisure enterprise group.

Two of the sources stated the unit will ultimately have over 300 employees, a beneficiant determine given how Tencent has been value reducing and slowing down hiring. Nevertheless, additionally they cautioned that the hiring plans are nonetheless fluid, as the corporate will modify the unit’s headcount primarily based on its efficiency.

The unit was first shaped earlier this 12 months however remained shrouded in secrecy, the three sources stated.

Prolonged actuality is a time period that refers to immersive applied sciences reminiscent of digital actuality and augmented actuality, that are seen to be the constructing blocks of the metaverse.

Tencent, China’s most respected firm, declined to remark.

Buyers, entrepreneurs, and established tech giants all over the world have latched on to the idea of the metaverse, ever since Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Fb which just lately modified its identify to Meta Platforms, introduced that he would commit the way forward for his firm to constructing a metaverse.

Firms from Microsoft to Disney have introduced they’re additionally engaged on their very own metaverses, with Chinese language and US corporations from TikTok proprietor ByteDance to Apple additionally increase their headset items involving XR applied sciences.

The XR unit will mark a uncommon foray into {hardware} for Tencent, which is usually recognized for its software program reminiscent of its suite of video games in addition to social media functions.

One of many sources stated the unit was seen internally as a ardour mission of Tencent founder and chief govt Pony Ma who first highlighted the significance of the metaverse, or what he known as an “all-real web”, in late 2020.

The introduction of the brand new crew stands in distinction to downsizing taking place in different components of Tencent, which has been implementing value management measures and scaling again non-core companies, such because the shuttering of its Penguin Esports unit, to deal with the fall-out from a regulatory crackdown.

Tencent has remained largely coy, publicly, about its metaverse plans. Final November, it advised analysts it had a whole lot of “tech and functionality constructing blocks” to method the metaverse alternative however didn’t go into particulars.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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