Microsoft Follows Facebook Into The Metaverse

November 05, 2021, 9:45 AM AEST - 3 weeks ago

Microsoft is hot on the heels of Facebook, now known as Meta, and has entered the metaverse race by introducing 3D avatars and immersive meetings, according to a Tweet by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Soon after Facebook announced it would be rebranding as Meta to reflect its engagement with the metaverse, Microsoft is also now gearing up to launch its own version, “Mesh”, which will likely focus more on the corporate world. Nadella tweeted about the metaverse, a space where digital avatars of people can interact at work and play, saying that it is “not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it”.

Nadella’s tweet included a video that shows how Microsoft plans to integrate itself into the virtual world. Microsoft intends Mesh to be a collaborative platform for shared virtual immersive experiences on Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Meshes into the Metaverse

According to Microsoft officials, Mesh for Teams will start to roll out in preview during the first half of 2022, with a set of pre-built immersive spaces for both corporate and social meetings. Microsoft has also indicated it will add tools to allow customers to customise their own spaces.

Mesh for Teams as a feature of Teams will “combine the mixed-reality capabilities of Microsoft Mesh, which allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences, with the productivity tools of Teams, where people can join virtual meetings, send chats, collaborate on shared documents, and more”.

While Facebook – now Meta – says it is dedicating its efforts to the future of the internet “more than any other company in the world”, Microsoft’s new take to Teams is a massive step in the right direction for metaverse fans.

Microsoft intends to utilise AI to “listen” to users’ voices and thus animate their avatars. “We are able to interpret your vocal cues to animate that avatar, so it feels present [as if] it’s there with you,” said Katie Kelly, principal product manager for Microsoft Mesh.

Facebook Shifts Its Focus

As Facebook/Meta deals with issues of privacy, security, and its failure to control fake news, misinformation and hate speech, the rebrand has many speculating it’s merely a diversionary tactic to diffuse criticism against the company.

Although Facebook has said it intends to build the metaverse “responsibly” and has vowed to invest US$50 million into building toward this goal, many remain doubtful.

The news of Facebook’s rebranding has, however, been very bullish for other blockchain-based metaverse projects. Since the announcement, The Sandbox (SAND) surged 158 percent, and Decentraland (MANA), as well as Axie Infinity (AXS), have also seen big surges in price.

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