Tencent Holdings has quietly embedded video game engine Unreal Engine into its more and more out of date messaging platform QQ, in keeping with an up to date model of the app, and analysts say the move kinds a part of the social media and gaming big’s foray into the metaverse.
The Shenzhen-based firm up to date QQ this month and the brand new model, which was historically a chat app, contains elements of video video games engine Unreal Engine, in keeping with evaluation by LibChecker, a third-party app evaluation device.
The replace coincided with Tencent’s launch of a brand new function on the app known as Super QQ Show, which is a 3D interactive area the place customers can socialise, watch reveals and play video games. As such, analysts say the move marks Tencent’s newest effort to construct its presence in the metaverse.
The metaverse, already one among 2022’s scorching tech traits, sometimes refers to a shared, immersive 3D digital area the place folks can work together and commerce their belongings, seen by many as the subsequent iteration of the Internet.
The move additionally alerts Tencent’s dedication to revitalise QQ, its second-most widespread messaging platform after WeChat with 590 million month-to-month lively customers, after it misplaced relevance amid a broad move by Chinese netizens to quick video and new platforms in current years.
Tencent declined to touch upon the brand new replace and Super QQ Show.
The metaverse is gaining reputation in China. Although the nation has but to roll out a nationwide technique in relation to the idea, like South Korea has, some main metropolis authorities have requested corporations to discover the thought. For instance, Shanghai’s subsequent five-year plan lists the metaverse as one among 4 frontiers for exploration.
The Super QQ Show is on the market to a particular group of customers for trials. Screenshots and video footage of the function posted by Tencent workers, reveals customers dressing up their 3D avatars, adorning their properties and visiting each other, very similar to Nintendo’s widespread video game sequence Animal Crossing.
Unreal Engine is utilized by blockbuster video games reminiscent of Bioshock and Mass Effect, and Tencent owns a 40% stake in its US developer Epic Games, which runs the engine. Epic Games was one of many first worldwide tech giants to make improvement of the metaverse its central mission final yr. Epic’s signature game Fortnite is usually cited as one of many main metaverse initiatives in the market.
In a question-and-answer session on Zhihu, China’s equal to Quora, Unreal Engine’s official account praised Tencent for incorporating the engine inside QQ.
“First and foremost, we have to commend the QQ team for their technical chop,” Unreal Engine said. “The Unreal Engine 4, inside its IOS app, is likely a modified version assembled by its in-house team.”
Cui Chenyu, a senior analysis analyst for video games at London-based consultancy Omdia, mentioned, “Tencent has no established metaverse project in particular yet while its major competitors are exploring the sector aggressively. This virtual and vivid QQ update might become the first metaverse product for Tencent.”
Given that Tencent has needed to closely modify the Unreal Engine to suit inside QQ, Cui added that this will likely sign Tencent is working to enhance its personal functionality to develop game engines, as one other step in direction of the metaverse.
Tencent’s curiosity in bringing the metaverse to QQ could be traced again to final October when it registered a sequence of metaverse-related logos together with one known as “QQ metaverse”.
In its earnings name with analysts final November, Tencent executives mentioned the corporate has an abundance of applied sciences to develop the metaverse.
Tencent’s President Martin Lau mentioned it may doubtlessly strategy the metaverse by means of a variety of companies, citing video game improvement and social networking as main strengths. But the 48-year-old government additionally mentioned Beijing would seemingly regulate the metaverse in a unique approach to the remainder of the world.
In October, the South China Morning Post reported that Tencent’s marquee gaming studio TiMi Studios was additionally launching a brand new studio, F1, to develop metaverse-like initiatives. – South China Morning Post