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Microsoft Introduces Its Own Metaverse

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has outlined details of the company’s entry into the metaverse, and it is decidedly more corporate than the fantasy world that Mark Zuckerberg and co. have been touting of late.

The company’s first offering will be built on the back of its Teams microcosm, featuring 3D avatars, immersive spaces, and digital twins. It will use Microsoft’s Mesh technology, which allows virtual and augmented reality experience through a variety of headsets.

It will be available in the first half of 2022.

“This pandemic has made the commercial use cases much more mainstream, even though sometimes the consumer stuff feels like science fiction,” Nadella told Bloomberg.

Microsoft built a “digital twin” of its offices to familiarise over 10,000 new workers with the space during the pandemic. Nadella hopes this technology will be used by everything from retail spaces to doctors treating patients in COVID wards.

A new product called Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces will allow for this.

“You could, for instance, experience a Best Buy store in the metaverse” and check out displays and devices, Microsoft Vice President Jared Spataro said. “Today when you think of a website, it is not very well connected to the physicality of what we experience.”

Nadella dismissed ideas the technology will be seen as creepy.

““There is nothing creepy about visiting a COVID ward remotely for a doctor to be able to help their patients, or to be able to do remote assistance in a manufacturing line in a time of COVID crisis when that manufacturing line needs to be fixed by an engineer working from home,” Nadella explains.

Given the company’s success with the Xbox, expect a hefty dose of gaming to feature in Microsoft’s metaverse.

“You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming,” Nadella said.

“If you take Halo as a game, it is a metaverse. Minecraft is a metaverse, and so is Flight Sim. In some sense, they are 2D today, but the question is, can you now take that to a full 3D world, and so we absolutely plan to do so.”


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