Eyeing Black Shark, Tencent Metaverse Chess

Tencent’s metaverse map surfaced.

Tencent, which has been “lurking” in the Metaverse for a long time, has started the hardware entrance of the Metaverse. 

On January 9, some media broke the news that Tencent plans to acquire Black Shark Technology, a gaming mobile phone company. After the acquisition, Black Shark will be integrated into the Tencent Group Platform and Content Business Group (PCG) led by Ren Yuxin. 

Previously, Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion, and ByteDance also spent $9 billion to buy Pico. Why did Tencent choose a mobile phone manufacturer? 

The above-mentioned revelations stated that after the completion of the transaction, the future business focus of Black Shark Technology will shift from gaming mobile phones to VR devices as a whole – Tencent provides content, and Black Shark provides VR hardware entry. 

For this news, as of press time, the two sides have not responded. 

According to Tianyancha, Black Shark Technology was established in 2017 and was funded by Xiaomi. It has launched several gaming phones, including Tencent Black Shark Gaming Phone 3, which was jointly launched by Tencent Games and Black Shark in January 2020. 

In April 2018, Black Shark Technology completed the angel round of financing, and Tianjin Venus Investment Company, which is wholly-owned by Xiaomi, invested 11 million yuan, accounting for 21.94% of the shares of Black Shark Technology. 

Wu Shimin, founder of Black Shark Technology, once recalled that the team accompanied Lei Jun on the high-speed train from Hangzhou to Beijing, and introduced him about Black Shark’s product design concept and future plans for nearly 5 hours along the way. “Lei Jun later agreed to invest.” 

Tencent has been “lurking” in the Metaverse for a long time

Although Tencent has not publicly announced its entry into the Metaverse, it has been quietly deployed for a long time. 

Companies such as Roblox, Epic Games, and MiniPlay, which are most similar to the concept of the metaverse, all have Tencent behind them. 

In March 2021, Roblox, a game company with the halo of “the first share of the Metaverse”, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The market value on the day of listing was close to US$40 billion. As of now, its market value is close to $50 billion. 

Roblox deliberately wrote the words “Metaverse (metaverse) is being realized” in the prospectus. Roblox CEO Baszucki proposed the basic characteristics of the “metaverse”: identity, friends, immersion, low latency, diversity, anywhere, economic system and civilization. 

Jon Radoff, founder of Beamable, proposed seven levels of “metaverse” structure from a structural perspective: experience, discovery, creator economy, spatial computing, decentralization, human-computer interaction, and infrastructure. 

In fact, as early as February 2020, in the $150 million Series G financing completed by Roblox, Tencent has already participated in the investment and is the exclusive agent for the product distribution of Roblox in China. 

In the past, Tencent has also cooperated with Roblox a number of times—— 

In September 2021, Tencent’s QQ Music and Roblox jointly launched the world’s first immersive music entertainment game “QQ Music Starlight Town”. Players can experience virtual concerts, new song launches, music festivals and other activities, and explore exclusive Special effects, fireworks, virtual gifts, 3D scene music mini-games, etc. 

Another concern is that Tencent has invested in Epic’s Unreal Engine, the top engine tool needed to create virtual worlds.At present, common games developed based on Unreal 4 engine include “PUBG Mobile”, “Fortress Night”, “Peace Elite”, “Dead by Daylight”, “Infinity Sword” and so on. 

As early as 2012, Tencent bought a 48.4% stake in Epic Games for $330 million. 

On April 13, 2020, Epic Games announced the completion of a huge $1 billion financing to build the Metaverse. In July 2020, Sony invested $250 million in Epic Games for a 1.4% stake in the company. After this round of financing, Epic Games’ valuation rose to $28.7 billion, a 60% increase in valuation in less than a year. 

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, one of the biggest advocates of the metaverse in recent years, stated that the funding will help accelerate work around building connected social experiences in Fortnite, Rocket League, and Fall Guys, while simultaneously delivering on-the-fly support through Unreal Engine, Epic Online Services and the Epic Games Store empower game developers and creators. 

Recently, mobile QQ ushered in the 8.8.55 version upgrade, and the Apple App Store shows that the size of the QQ installation package for iOS has reached 879MB. It is worth noting that some netizens analyzed the new version of Android QQ installation package and found that Unreal 4 engine was built into it. 

In 2017, Tencent also spent $2 billion to buy 12% of Snapchat’s shares. Snapchat’s social-based AR filters, Bitmoji avatars and other products are also close to the metaverse world. 

In June 2018, Tencent completed the B-round investment in Miniplay, and in April 2021, Tencent made another bet in the C-round stage. 

The mini-play uses a 3D voxel engine. The core gameplay of its game “Mini World” is to guide players to create virtual works by stacking blocks online. 

In November 2021, Tencent took a stake in Ultraleap, a British manufacturer focused on AR/VR metaverse tactile simulation technology. 

Ultraleap is working on so-called bare-hand interaction technology, and hopes to provide haptic feedback for bare-hand interaction based on hand tracking through an array of ultrasonic sensors. The main application directions the team is targeting include the AR/VR metaverse, and it has already cooperated with a series of manufacturers, including Qualcomm. 

Tom Carter, its CEO, said: “The concept of the metaverse is not new to Ultraleap. Our mission has always been to erase the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds. Our purpose of this Series D financing is to Accelerate the transition to the main interface, because there are no physical controllers, buttons, or touchscreens in anyone’s vision of the metaverse.” 

Eyeing Black Shark, Tencent Metaverse Chess

Source: Tianyancha

Tianyancha shows that in the past 2021, Tencent has invested in two VR/AR companies, namely Weimo Era and Yuanxiang Thinking. 

Era of Mighty Magic is a VR game developer, which has developed an action game “Eternal Warrior”. Players will have realistic effects when confronting, and the degree of action will gradually increase as the damage and blow continue. It also supports multiplayer online cooperation and battles. 

Yuanxiang Weisi is the entrepreneurial project of Yao Xing, former vice president of Tencent Group and president of AI LAB, focusing on building a true Internet. In June 2021, Yuanxiang Weisi completed the angel round of financing. Investment institutions include Tencent Investment, Wuyuan Capital, etc., with a financing amount of 40 million US dollars. 

Other products under Tencent have also tested the waters in the Metaverse. For example, in November 2020, Tencent Music announced a strategic cooperation with VR performance service provider Wave to further explore the blue ocean market for virtual concerts. QQ Show is also considered to have the potential to grow into a Metaverse ticket. 

Ma Huateng had long foreseen the metaverse?

In fact, with regard to the concept of the metaverse, Ma Huateng once proposed a somewhat similar concept – the true Internet. 

At the end of 2020, Ma Huateng wrote in the internal publication “Three Views”, “An exciting opportunity is coming. After ten years of development of the mobile Internet, the next wave of upgrades is about to be ushered in. We call it the true Internet.” 

He said that the doors of the virtual world and the real world have been opened, and whether it is from the virtual to the real, or from the real to the virtual, he is committed to helping users achieve a more realistic experience. Another big reshuffle is about to begin, just like the transformation of the mobile Internet, those who can’t get on the boat will gradually fall behind. 

For the “full true Internet”, Ma Huateng believes that it is the next battle that Tencent must win. 

In 2020, Tencent Cloud launched the underlying platform for smart cities, which is a sign that Tencent has entered the era of the true Internet. 

At Tencent Holdings’ third-quarter 2021 earnings conference call, Ma Huateng publicly responded to the popular “metaverse” topic for the first time. He said that the metaverse is an exciting topic, and he believes that Tencent has a lot of technologies and capabilities to explore and develop the metaverse. For example, in the fields of games, social media and artificial intelligence, Tencent has rich experience. 

In response to the question of “How does Tencent plan for the concept of the metaverse”, Tencent executives responded: 

The metaverse should further expand people’s existing world, which can bring a lot of opportunities to existing industries.We can develop highly interactive open world games, and we can also develop games of different categories under the same IP and world view. In such a world, users have a lot of infrastructure and components to enrich their experience. We can also introduce more gamification elements on social media, and we can also use augmented reality technology to enhance the physical experience in the real world. 

“Games are a very good foundation for the realization of the metaverse. It can be said that games are already the virtualization of the real physical world. To realize the metaverse, we can start with games and see how to better integrate the physical world with the virtual world in the future. , to achieve a better seamless physical and virtual experience.” Tencent executives said on the conference call. 

Attacking the metaverse from the game direction is also one of Tencent’s strategies. IT orange data shows that Tencent has invested in a total of 60 game companies this year, which can be said to be “investing in one in six days”. 

Foreign media have produced a complete industrial map of “Tencent’s Metaverse”. Among them are not only games such as League of Legends, but also e-commerce shopping platforms such as Pinduoduo and Meituan. 

Eyeing Black Shark, Tencent Metaverse Chess

Tencent Universe Source: Not Boring by Packy McCormick 

Taking Soul invested by Tencent as an example, it is the main label of “social metaverse for young people”. According to its definition, users can find peers who share their interests by completing a 30-second “soul identification”, and express and recognize them freely. Know the world and build your own “social metaverse”. 

For the Metaverse, Tencent is also suspected to have started “recruiting” last year. 

In September last year, ZPLAN, a new project of Tencent’s Tianmei Studio, was open for external recruitment. The recruitment poster showed that there were as many as 97 recruitment positions, involving three categories of technology, design and products. The posters used words such as TOP SECRET to express the importance of the project. Many media have reported that the project focuses on social + games, with a team size of over 1,000 people, and is known as Tencent’s first metaverse project. 

Regarding Metaverse, Tencent has also applied for a number of trademarks and patents. 

Up to now, Tencent has applied for the registration of nearly 100 Metaverse related trademarks, including “Reverse War Metaverse”, “Tencent Music Metaverse”, “Peace Elite Metaverse”, “Oasis Qiyuan Universe”, “King Metaverse” and “Day Dollar Universe”, etc. 

According to public data, Tencent has more than 24,000 published patent applications in the metaverse field in 126 countries/regions around the world, of which invention patents account for 99.74%. Tencent’s patent layout in this field mainly focuses on professional technical fields such as data processing, blockchain, servers, artificial intelligence, image processing, and virtual scenes. 

In addition to being the major shareholder of Roblox, the closest trend between Tencent and “Metaverse” is that the Platform and Content Business Group (PCG) has successively launched three products that benchmark Discord: NokNok, the main pixel-style game social product, and the main Interested in the Q dimension and the QQ channel function that is being tested in QQ. 

Tencent makes up for the key “link” of the Metaverse

The research report “Metaverse 2022 – Accumulated Power” released by Peking University HSBC Business School and Essence Securities pointed out that Tencent has the superior conditions for the layout of the Metaverse. Through the combination of capital (acquisition & investment) + traffic (social platform), the future It will be laid out like building blocks to explore the metaverse realm. 

Eyeing Black Shark, Tencent Metaverse Chess

Source: Screenshot of the research report 

Specifically, Tencent focuses on three major directions: the underlying architecture (engine Unreal Engine), back-end infrastructure (cloud services, big data centers), content and scenarios (various types of content products and a mature social network interconnection ecosystem). . This also means that the entrance of hardware devices is an important sector to be supplemented. 

And Black Shark Technology, or one of the entrances to the Metaverse chosen by Tencent. 

From the official website of BOSS, it can be seen that Black Shark Technology is currently recruiting VR/AR (augmented reality) talents, including VR image algorithm engineers and VR/AR optical design experts. It needs to complete the optical system design and lens stray light according to the project requirements. Analysis and other projects; study the technological evolution of the optical module industry for VR and AR products, and formulate the development direction of the company’s optical solutions. 

From the perspective of Tencent’s product system, there are natural advantages in the field of Metaverse. Especially in the business ecosystem jointly built by China Literature Group, Tencent Video and many other products, Tencent can rely on its huge IP reserves and channels for rapid conversion and monetization of IP through entertainment methods such as film and culture, which also contributes to the construction of the Metaverse. “Content Soil”. 

Today, domestic and foreign technology companies such as Nvidia, Microsoft, LG, and ByteDance are all running and entering the market to seize this “Internet ticket for the next ten years”. In October, Facebook changed its name to Meta, which directly pushed the technology concept to new heights. 

Public information shows that in 2021, there will be more than 12,000 trademark applications with “Metaverse” in the name, and more than 1,700 and 1,000 trademark applications with Meta and METAVERSE in their names, respectively. 

Relevant trademark applicants include not only Internet giants such as Tencent, NetEase, and Baidu, but also well-known enterprises in various industries such as SAIC, Michelle Bingcheng, Shuanghui, Hisense, and Foxconn. 

Public reports show that in the long run, the hardware entrances of the Metaverse are expected to be very diverse. In addition to XR terminals such as VR and AR, there are also smart headsets, tactile gloves, somatosensory clothing, brain-computer interfaces, contact lenses, exoskeletons, etc. , the commonality of all these hardwares is that they can enhance the user’s sense of immersion and bring more dimensions of experience and interaction. 

Last November, Meta shared its latest breakthrough in haptic glove research from its VR tech company, Reality Labs, with a video showing two people testing a haptic glove in a demo Metaverse, clenching their fists, picking up blocks, throwing things, shaking hands, and knocking down dominoes. Dominos and blocks together. 

According to Meta, the glove relies on haptic rendering to send “precise commands” to the actuators on the hand, which correspond to tracking technology that can pinpoint the hand’s position and the properties of virtual objects in the metaverse. 

The investment in Black Shark Technology has also gradually surfaced the territory of Tencent’s Metaverse. 

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/eyeing-black-shark-tencent-metaverse-chess/
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