Tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd has reportedly held talks to acquire Black Shark, a Chinese gaming smartphone maker. This move would help Tencent in furthering its ambitions for the metaverse.
According to credible resources, Tencent has initiated talks to buy Black Shark which is a niche maker of gaming accessories and phones. After the deal, the company will shift to developing virtual reality headsets for its new parent firm.
Black Shark, a novice startup that calls its users the members of the Rebellion, sells its gaming phones along with numerous accessories like controllers across Europe, India, and China. In 2021, Tencent worked with Black Shark on a gaming phone specially optimized for its marquee title Peacekeeper Elite.
Tencent is a major player in the quest of building the metaverse alongside global behemoths like Meta Platforms Inc. In a recent earnings call, Martin Lau, the President of Tencent hailed the metaverse as a genuine opportunity. However, he also noted that the concept is still relatively far from being implemented in reality.
One of the crucial pillars in realizing the metaverse is the development of specialized hardware. Meta made an early move by acquiring VR headset maker Oculus in 2014, whereas top Chinese competitor ByteDance Ltd. bought Pico, a domestic VR headset manufacturer in 2021.
Although Tencent did not go as far as changing its corporate identity, the Chinese company might actually be better placed than Meta Platforms to convert the science-fiction concept of a 3D world wide web into reality.
Tencent runs an expansive business empire apart from its roots in social networking. It touches everything from mobile payments and virtual offices to gaming. For instance, its WeChat super app is already leveraged by nearly a billion Chinese people who use it to shop, chat, order food, taxis, and watch videos.
More importantly, Tencent is the local publisher of the gaming platform of Roblox Corp., the company which enables users to develop virtual worlds.