Microsoft is dipping its toes into the Metaverse with improvements to its Teams and Xbox gaming console services, as well as a new product called “Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces.”
During the Microsoft Ignite conference on Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined the company’s metaverse plans for Teams and Spaces.
“We can embed computer into the real world and the real world into computation thanks to the Metaverse. Adding physical presence to any digital environment. What matters most is that we can bring our humanity with us and select how we want to interact with the world,” Nadella added.
The metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it – from the factory floor to the meeting room. Take a look. pic.twitter.com/h5tsdYMXRD
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 2, 2021
The “Mesh” version for Microsoft Teams will enable users with individualized digital avatars and immersive venues to connect in the metaverse “that can be accessed from any device, with no special equipment required” when it launches in 2022.
Organizations will be able to create unique places to accommodate settings such as meetings or “social mixers” later in Mesh’s development.
The first preview of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces solution is scheduled for December 2021, and it will allow enterprises to mix Metaverse with artificial intelligence (AI) technology. In a “hybrid work environment,” Spaces may be used to harness observational data from cameras from “the retail store to the production floor,” according to the company.
In a Tuesday blog post, Vishal Sood, general manager of Connected Spaces, said, “With the power of your existing cameras, harness computer vision and observational data to help complete the picture—giving a new perspective into people, places, and things.”
Nadella also claimed that Microsoft’s video game company, Xbox, will “definitely” work on integrating the Metaverse into its gaming lines during an interview with Bloomberg TV on Wednesday. However, the CEO kept his cards close to his chest when it came to the gaming sector, as he didn’t provide any solid details.
“You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming,” Nadella stated, adding, “You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming.”
“Halo is a Metaverse if you look at it as a game.” Flight Sim, like Minecraft, is a Metaverse. They’re 2D now in certain ways, and the question is whether you can now take it to a fully 3D environment, which we absolutely want to accomplish.”
Microsoft isn’t the only prominent corporation to announce metaverse aspirations this week; earlier on Wednesday, Cointelegraph reported that Nike has filed trademark applications for its iconic emblem and slogan for usage in “online virtual worlds.” The company has also recently announced two job openings for virtual material designers.
The newcomers will “play a significant part in changing our digital environment, ushering us into the Metaverse,” according to Nike.
Facebook, the world’s most popular social networking platform, has rebranded as Meta and is trying to provide a platform for artists to build virtual online companies, connect online experiences with the physical world, and launch its virtual reality hardware company, Reality Labs.
On Friday, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian discussed Facebook’s plans in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, calling it a “masterstroke in diversion and distraction” from the company’s difficulties.
While Ohanian stated that Meta should not be “underestimated,” he also stated that there is enough organic movement from the crypto industry to establish an open metaverse rather than one dominated by Facebook:
“Right now, there’s a grassroots effort to build the metaverse. We’ve seen what’s going on in the crypto world… We’re seeing a lot of people creating what I believe will become a much more organic society, rather than one forced from the top down by Facebook.”