• Microsoft enters the Metaverse with team updates and Xbox upgrades

  • US tech giant Microsoft is making a foray into the Metaverse with updates to its Teams and Xbox console services, as well as a new offering called Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces.

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the company’s plans for the Metaverse for Teams and Spaces at the Microsoft Ignite conference on November 2.

    “The Metaverse enables us to embed computation into the real world and the real world into computation. bring real presence to any digital space. Most importantly, we are able to bring our humanity and choose how we want to experience the world,” said Nadella.

    The Microsoft team’s update is called “Mesh” and its first launch in 2022 will provide users with a personalized digital body and immersive spaces to meet in the Metaverse that “can be accessed from any device, no special device required.”

    Later in the Mesh’s development, organisations will also be able to create custom spaces to support situations such as meetings or “social gatherings”.

    Microsoft’s new Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces offering, which will have its first preview in December 2021, will enable organizations to integrate Metaverse and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies with their businesses. Spaces can be used to leverage observational data from cameras “from retail stores to the factory floor,” the company said, and it’s called a “hybrid work environment.”

    In a Nov. 2 blog post, Connected Spaces managing director Vishal Sood wrote: “Harness the power of your existing cameras and use computer vision and observational data to help complete the picture – offering a new perspective on people, places and things.

    “After deployment, simply turn on AI-powered models, known as skills, to help understand specific scenarios such as customer behavior in promotional displays, traffic patterns, and unique insights into your space.”

    In a Nov. 3 interview, Nadella also said that Microsoft’s video game company Xbox will “absolutely” work to integrate the Metaverse into its gaming lineup. The CEO kept his cards close to his chest, however, as he did not offer any specific updates for the gaming division.

    “You can absolutely expect us to do something on the gaming side,” Nadella said, adding.

    “If you take Halo as a game, it’s a Metaverse. minecraft is a Metaverse, so is Flight Sim. In a sense, they’re 2D today, the question is can you take it to a fully 3D world now, and we absolutely plan to do that.”

    Microsoft isn’t the only mainstream giant to come up with Metaverse plans this week, as Nike has filed trademark applications for its iconic logo and slogan to be used in “online virtual worlds.” The company also recently posted two job openings for virtual material designers.

    Nike says the new hires will “play a key role in redefining our digital world and bringing us into the Metaverse.”

    Social media giant Facebook is moving into the Metaverse, rebranding as Meta, as the company works to provide a platform for creators to build virtual online businesses that connect online experiences to the physical world and launch its virtual reality hardware business called Reality Labs.

    In an Oct. 29 interview, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian commented on Facebook’s plans, calling it a “big distraction and distraction” from the issues that have been plaguing the company.

    While Ohanian noted that Meta should not be “underestimated,” he stressed that there is enough organic movement in the cryptocurrency sector to create an open Metaverse that is not controlled by the social media giant.

    “There’s this bottom-up movement to create the etaverse right now. we’ve seen what’s happening in the cryptocurrency community …… we’re seeing a lot of people building what I think and hope will become a more organic world rather than a top-down Facebook imposed world.”

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