Gaming

A logo of Tencent is seen during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, 23 November 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Tencent struggles to grow amid crackdowns and competition

Hit by China's regulatory crackdowns, increased competition and slowing growth, Chinese internet titan Tencent had a tough 2021. The company has had to restructure and expand its international revenue streams, and it is now faced with tough layoffs. How is it staying relevant in the tech game, and does this mean that "winter is coming" for the internet giant?
An attendee wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset takes part in a concert experience in the metaverse at the SK Telecom Co. stand on the opening day of the MWC Barcelona at the Fira de Barcelona venue in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 February 2022. (Angel Garcia/Bloomberg)

Metaverse: What is it and who's in control?

The phrase “metaverse” has been bandied about but what exactly is it and how far along is the project? Academic James Pang and entrepreneur Liang Xinjun explain that the implications of this development are larger than most think. The metaverse is not so much a sub-world to enter into on the side but the integration of the real and virtual worlds and economic systems, essentially creating a new world with new governance structures and norms. US and Chinese firms are, of course, racing to get a big slice of the future.
A user demonstrates the Owo vest, which allows users to feel physical sensations during metaverse experiences such as virtual reality games, including wind, gunfire or punching, at the Consumer Electronics Show on 5 January 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP)

Metaverse: Why Microsoft is acquiring Activision

Technology expert Yin Ruizhi notes that Microsoft’s recent announcement to acquire gaming company Activision Blizzard is not just about breaking into the gaming market, but an important step towards building its capabilities to develop the metaverse. Can it succeed and will other Western tech giants follow?
A man wears a VR headset at a booth during the DCentral Miami Conference at the Miami Airport Convention Centre on 1 December 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)

Metaverse: Plans of the tech giants

When it comes to the metaverse, the various tech giants are taking different approaches, from conservative to aggressive. Technology expert Yin Ruizhi takes a look at three major players — Facebook, Nvidia, and Tencent — and their respective strategies, and how they are likely to contribute to building the metaverse.
Projects like The Sandbox are centred on NFTs. Players themselves can create their own digital assets in the game – such as costumes and weapons for their avatar – as an NFT. Players can likewise own virtual “land” in The Sandbox’s universe, similarly in the form of NFTs. The land units are represented in a map that forms The Sandbox metaverse. (The Sandbox/SPH)

If Chinese video producers and gamers can become metaverse creators

In this second article in a series on the metaverse, technology expert Yin Ruizhi says that video creation platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou, as well as sandbox games such as Mini World, might give an idea of how users can help create the virtual world in the metaverse if the financial and creative bar is lowered such that participating is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations - Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Metaverse: A bubble that could soon burst?

One of the hottest buzzwords recently is the metaverse. In this first article in a series on the topic, technology expert Yin Ruizhi explains what the metaverse is, what would make it viable and why creating the metaverse is still very much a pipe dream.
Computer games are seen at a store in Beijing, China, on 10 September 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Will overregulation kill Chinese firms' metaverse ambitions?

The metaverse is the latest tech industry buzzword that has generated great interest among Chinese tech companies and China's capital market. Not everyone is equally enthusiastic, however, as Chinese authorities appear to be taking a cautious approach, attempting to strike a balance between regulatory control and the risk of stifling innovation. Caixin explores what's in store for the metaverse.
A player of Rogue Warriors esports team trains for the game "Arena of Valor" at his club in Shanghai, China, 3 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why mobile gaming is important for maintaining social stability in China

Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi notes that it is necessary to regulate the Chinese gaming industry, especially for minors. However, for adults, gaming is a low-cost form of entertainment that fulfils the human need to socialise, and the Chinese government needs to find a balance between preventing addiction and encouraging industry growth.
A man plays an online game on a computer at an internet cafe in Beijing, China, 31 August 2021. (Florence Lo/File Photo/Reuters)

A metaverse with Chinese characteristics?

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “Think of the metaverse as an immersive virtual world where people can spend time together and hang out, much like you can do today with virtual reality, dialed up to 11.” Stocks of companies working on constructing the said metaverse have been on the rise. China, with its huge video game market, should have a head start in this realm, but authorities are sounding words of caution. They fear the metaverse will be as ephemeral as it seems and worse, even harder to regulate. How will it get a piece of the pie in its own way?