Tencent, a Chinese company that provides social networks, e-commerce and mobile and online videogames for the Chinese market, is looking at launching a new virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display for the Chinese market.
Tencent is actually the largest videogame company in the world, having recently acquired Supercell, who are behind hit mobile title Clash of Clans. Tencent is the company responsible for popular Chinese social media platform WeChat. The company also recently launched a videogame system called the MiniStation, which was powered by Android. Indications were there on launch that the system was designed to be compatible with a yet-to-be-released VR headset, though no details were provided.
A webpage provided for developers to apply to make titles for the MiniStation, however, indicated that it was Tencent’s intention to create a complete VR platform, with WeChat providing social networking and an in-app payment system that was already being worked on.
The company has been working with tech manufacturer Qualcomm to create a design for a standalone VR headset that used ‘inside out’ tracking that does not require an additional tracking camera or sensor. Tencent have also invested in AltspaceVR, an online community service for VR, and in Epic Games, who are of course the people behind Unreal Engine.
Since Oculus Rift doesn’t have a presence in China due to the ban on Facebook services, it could mean the gap in the market is big enough to let Tencent get a foot in the door, despite it’s relatively late start when compared to other VR headset manufacturers.
Tencent hopes to release the new headset sometime in the second half of 2017. It has not yet been confirmed if the headset will be a PC-based VR system, or a mobile VR system using the MiniStation as a basis. Nor has a price point been discussed.
VRFocus will bring you further news on Tencent’s VR headset as soon as it becomes available.