Tencent to develop its own gaming phone: report

By Wei Sheng
2 min read
 (Image credit: BigStock/Rawpixel.com)

Chinese mobile game giant Tencent is in touch with several original design manufacturers (ODMs) to develop its own gaming phone, according to an unconfirmed report (in Chinese) by Chinese media 36Kr.

Citing sources, the report said that the Inlab of Tencent’s Interactive Entertainment Group, the company’s game business division, is working on a gaming phone, which utilizes a Qualcomm processor, and uses hardware from one of the ODMs, the lineup of which is said to include Taiwan-based Asus, Singapore’s Razer, and Xiaomi-backed Blackshark.

The gaming phone may be sold under a Tencent brand or both brands of Tencent and the OMD that makes the phone. The report didn’t give details about the price the phone or when it would be available in the market.

A spokesman for Tencent declined to comment when contacted by TechNode.

The computer and smartphone maker Asus has been negotiating with Tencent to develop a gaming smartphone that highlights Tencent mobile games, according to Taiwanese media Digitimes (in Chinese). But that plan was later interrupted when gaming hardware manufacturer Razer appeared on the scene seeking similar cooperation with Tencent.

The 36Kr report quoted an insider close to Blackshark as saying that the gaming phone maker was still discussing with Tencent to roll out a crossover smartphone, which would use a Qualcomm 855 processor, in the second half of the year.

Blackshark did not reply to TechNode’s request for confirmation.

Tencent, the biggest gaming company in the world, may be seeking areas for growth by entering the gaming hardware as gaming revenues flag amid increased scrutiny of the industry by Chinese authorities. The country’s publication watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, stopped the approval of all video game titles in March 2018, which was not resumed until the end of the year.

As a result, Tencent’s revenue from gaming fell 4% in the third quarter of 2018 and saw no year-on-year growth in the fourth quarter.

However, making hardware is never easy for internet companies, and competition in the smartphone market is already fierce.

“Across the world, the only internet company that succeeded in the smartphone market in Google… Tencent’s gaming phone plan won’t see any results in the short term,” according to a smartphone industry insider quoted by 36Kr.

Another example is selfie and social app-maker Meitu, which on Monday gave up its loss-making smartphone business by handing it over to Xiaomi, marking an end of its six-year experiment with smartphones.