Tencent, a large technology company, is making big bets on the metaverse by launching a new division for its AI software. Augmented Reality is technology that includes virtual reality and virtual reality. This technology will form the foundation of the metaverse.
Tencent today announced to its employees that it was formalizing the XR Division, which will be headed by Tencent Games Global Chief Technology Officer Li Shen. This new division will be part of the Tencent Interactive Entertainment group. This is a significant loss for the company as its focus is on social media and messaging software like WeChat, or video games. It’s one the largest industry players in the world.
Reuters reported that sources familiar with the matter said the new unit would employ over 300 people and was a significant investment. The XR division’s hiring process will likely be flexible as performance is the main driver of headcount. Although the division was established in the early part of last year, its official opening has been kept secret.
Microsoft and Disney are also interested in the metaverse. Another Chinese company, ByteDance (which owns TikTok), also invests in XR. It also develops headsets through Pico (a Chinese VR headset manufacturer that was acquired last year).
One source said to Reuters that Tencent founder Pony Ma viewed a division as a passion project. He called the metaverse “a completely true internet” in late 2020.