Internet giant Tencent reportedly revealed it had created a business unit exploring extended reality (XR) technologies, which would include a push into hardware.

According to Reuters, Tencent’s gaming chief Steven Ma said Tencent had set up an XR business line, confirming speculation, which would combine hardware and software.

Ma said the company would use the next four to five years to “actively experiment in software, content, systems, SDK tools, hardware and other links to create VR experiences which can be industry benchmarks”.

Reuters sources added the new business line would eventually have more than 300 staff, dependent on early performance.

XR comprises immersive technologies such as AR and VR. The news comes as the race for leading technologies for the metaverse, an immersive virtual world, heats up.

Ma further explained that the company’s foray into XR was influenced by the technological innovations in the VR market, such as lighter headsets and improved display resolution.