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Microsoft teases its metaverse with new updates to Xbox and Teams

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Microsoft chief Satya Nadella announces Metaverse update for Teams with new 3D avatars (Microsoft)
Microsoft chief Satya Nadella announces Metaverse update for Teams with new 3D avatars (Microsoft)

Microsoft is introducing metaverse features to its Xbox gaming console services and its video conferencing software Teams, just days after Facebook announced its rebranding to Meta with plans to plunge its users into virtual reality environments.

“The Metaverse enables us to embed computing into the real world and to embed the real world into computing. Bringing real presence to any digital space,” Microsoft chief Satya Nadella said in a tweet.

“What’s most important is that we are able to bring our humanity with us, and choose how we want to experience this world,” he added.

The Teams update, called Mesh, expected to be rolled out in 2022, will provide users personalised digital avatars and virtual spaces where they could meet in the Metaverse.

With Mesh, Mr Nadella said people would not just be looking into the cameras during meetings but be in the same room with colleagues, virtually.

Microsoft noted that the metaverse “can be accessed from any device, with no special equipment needed.”

It said organisations will also get to eventually customise the immersive spaces to suit their needs.

The company’s new Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces, set for preview in early December 2021, would let companies combine Metaverse and AI tech with their businesses and can allow organisations to harness data from cameras from the “the retail store to the factory floor,” into a “hybrid work environment.”

Microsoft chief Satya Nadella announced Mesh Metaverse update for Microsoft Teams at Ignite 2021 (Microsoft chief Satya Nadella announced Mesh Metaverse update for Microsoft Teams at Ignite 2021)
Microsoft chief Satya Nadella announced Mesh Metaverse update for Microsoft Teams at Ignite 2021 (Microsoft chief Satya Nadella announced Mesh Metaverse update for Microsoft Teams at Ignite 2021)

The company said it is also planning to integrate its Xbox gaming console services to the Metaverse.

However, it did not announce when these changes in the gaming lines are expected to be rolled out.

“You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming,” Mr Nadella told 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,” he added.

Microsoft is not the only tech giant in recent weeks to announce its plunge into the metaverse.

Last week Facebook announced it is rebranding as Meta, with future plans to develop virtual spaces that its platform users can use to hang out, work and play.

Company chief Mark Zuckerberg said the metaverse would be a “successor” to the mobile internet and a place where people could interact, work and create.

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