China’s Tencent Holdings publicly announced the launch of a “extended reality” (XR) subsidiary to its employees on Monday, formally putting its bets on the metaverse notion of virtual worlds.
The unit is in charge of growing Tencent’s extended reality business, which includes both software and hardware. It will also be overseen by Tencent Games Global’s Chief Technology Officer Li Shen and will fall under the Interactive Entertainment business group.
The unit was founded earlier this year, but its existence was kept under wraps. Extended reality refers to immersive technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality, which are thought to be the metaverse’s building blocks. The structure will eventually employ around 300 people
Since Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, which just changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc, declared that he will commit the future of his firm to developing a metaverse, investors, entrepreneurs, and established tech giants around the world have flocked to the concept of the metaverse.
Companies ranging from Microsoft to Disney have indicated that they are developing their own metaverses, with Chinese and American companies ranging from TikTok owner ByteDance to Apple expanding its XR headset units.
Tencent is best known for its software, like as its game suite and social networking applications, so the XR unit will be a rare venture into hardware for the company
Furthermore, the unit was seen as a passion project of Tencent founder and CEO Pony Ma, who initially underlined the importance of the metaverse, or what he referred to as a “all-real internet,” in late 2020.
The launch of the new team contrasts with downsizing at other parts of Tencent, which has been taking cost-cutting measures and scaling back non-core activities, such as the closure of its Penguin Esports unit, in order to deal with the consequences of a regulatory crackdown.
Tencent has kept mainly silent about its metaverse aspirations in public. It told investors in November that it has a lot of “tech and capacity building blocks” to address the metaverse opportunity, but it didn’t elaborate.