Microsoft is the latest company to enter the metaverse race after the organization recently announced plans to launch a metaverse within Teams, Microsoft’s proprietary business communication platform. The company said it will bring Mesh, a collaborative program of virtual experiences, to Microsoft’s Teams platform sometime next year.
On top of this, Microsoft also unveiled plans to build out its gaming and entertainment metaverse. CEO Satya Nadella said the company is “absolutely” focused on building out the organization’s gaming metaverse with Xbox.
“You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming,” said Nadella in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “If you take Halo as a game, it is a metaverse. Minecraft is a metaverse, and so is Flight Sim. In some sense, they’re 2D today, and the question is can you now take that to a full 3D world, and we absolutely plan to do so.”
Nadella has not given a timeline for when we will see Microsoft’s push into a metaverse for gaming. The recent announcement related directly to 3D avatars and virtually shared places, which have been present in Xbox for years now.
The Profit‘s Take:
It’s hard to tell if this is just a PR stunt, or if there is an actual business strategy here. If you believe Microsoft, Teams is already a metaverse, so they’re already there. This seems like a very knee-jerk reaction from a major gaming giant. Microsoft has enough scale and resources that they could have come out with a real response to Facebook (Meta). They have a lot of technology that they could have leaned on to help build out their metaverse but none of it was mentioned. The real stuff they have been building (that’s metaverse related) never came up. Instead, they just said, “we have Halo and Teams, so we already have metaverses.” I would’ve liked to hear them say “we are investing millions of dollars into HoloLens and seeing where that goes.” I almost like the Teams 3D avatar announcement more because it seems more metaverse-ish. I could see a lot of people using a 3D avatar for meetings rather than getting dressed up and going on camera. This whole story seems a little fluffy. It doesn’t feel like there is anything concrete here. This is definitely a move towards convergence, but the problem is Microsoft is very siloed. They have always struggled to bridge hardware and software. It took Surface devices almost ten years to start producing good, cohesive hardware and software that works well together. I just think Microsoft’s always going to struggle with a bit of a siloed organization. We’ll see if they can make this work, but they have all the pieces there to make it successful. It is worth noting that no new Facebook-specific products came out after the company’s Meta announcement. It was just a rebranding. I don’t think Microsoft would have ever done a rebrand. I think we may see some more cohesive branding and strategies from Microsoft at some point, though. I am sure Facebook’s whole Meta thing has been in the works for two months, NOT two years.
(All information was provided by Google and The Verge [1,2])
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