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Microsoft’s crack at its own metaverse starts with a virtual office

By AYIE LICSI Published Nov 03, 2021 6:57 pm

Meta, aka the company formerly known as Facebook, isn't the only one creating a metaverse. Microsoft is, too. The tech giant showed off Mesh, a collaborative platform using augmented and virtual reality highlighting the future of work, which will be integrated into Microsoft Teams in 2022.

This metaverse will roll out new virtual collaboration features to make working in a virtual office less tiresome.

"We got hit by meeting fatigue in the virtual world," Microsoft Teams general manager Nicole Herskowitz told The Verge. “After 30 or 40 minutes max in a meeting, it was very hard to stay engaged and focused.”

Microsoft's answer to this is 3D avatars. These avatars, available in 2D and 3D meetings, will present an animated version of you if you don't feel like appearing on-camera.

Mesh also lets businesses create immersive spaces, or metaverses, where workers can meet, of course, VR headsets will be a must-have for 3D spaces, but content and avatars will still be viewable in 2D. Teams users will be able to customize meeting spaces with virtual objects like whiteboards, floating displays, 3D models, prototypes, and more.

Aside from making strides in its corporate apps, Microsoft also plans to innovate the Xbox with metaverse gaming.

“You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming,” CEO Satya Nadella told Bloomberg. “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 fully 3D world, and so we absolutely plan to do so.”