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According to an upgraded version of the program, Tencent Holdings has stealthily integrated the Unreal Engine video game engine into its increasingly obsolete QQ messaging network. Hence, analysts believe the move is part of the social media and gaming giant’s entrance into the metaverse.
According to LibChecker, a third-party app inspection tool, the Shenzhen-based company updated QQ last month. The new version, which was formerly a chat app, includes portions of the Unreal Engine video game engine.
Tencent launched a new app feature called Super QQ Show, which is a 3D interactive arena where users can socialize, watch shows, and play games, at the same time as the update. As a result, observers claim the move is Tencent’s latest attempt to establish a footprint in the metaverse.
The decision also demonstrates Tencent’s commitment to resuscitate QQ, its second most popular messaging platform behind WeChat with 590 million monthly active users, which had fallen out of favor in recent years as Chinese netizens shifted their attention to short videos and other platforms.
In China, the metaverse is gaining traction. Although the country has not yet developed a national plan for the concept, like South Korea has, officials in some key cities have pushed businesses to investigate it. For example, one of four frontiers to explore in Shanghai’s future five-year plan is the metaverse.
The Super QQ Show is currently under testing by a small number of users. Tencent staff uploaded screenshots and video footage of the functionality. Which shows players dressing up their avatars in 3D, decorating their homes, and visiting others. Thus similar to Nintendo’s Animal Crossing video game franchise.
The Unreal Engine is utilized in successful games such as Bioshock and Mass Effect. Tencent owns a 40% share in Epic Games, which operates the engine in the United States. Last year, Epic Games was one of the first worldwide tech behemoths to make metaverse development a top priority. Epic’s flagship game, Fortnite, considered as one of the market’s leading metaverse initiatives.