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

China’s Tencent introduced to its workers on Monday the official formation of an ‘prolonged actuality’ (XR) unit, three folks accustomed to the matter stated, formally inserting its bets on the metaverse idea of digital worlds.

The unit is tasked with build up 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 Games Global’s Chief Technology Officer Li Shen and might be a part of the corporate’s Interactive Entertainment enterprise group.

Two of the sources stated the unit will ultimately have over 300 workers, a beneficiant determine given how Tencent has been value slicing and slowing down hiring. However, in addition 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 fashioned earlier this yr however remained shrouded in secrecy, the three sources stated.

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

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

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

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

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

One of the sources stated the unit was considered internally as a ardour challenge of Tencent founder and chief government Pony Ma who first highlighted the significance of the metaverse, or what he referred to as an “all-real internet”, in late 2020.

The introduction of the brand new staff stands in distinction to downsizing occurring in different elements 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 address the fall-out from a regulatory crackdown.

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

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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