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“Gateway to the Metaverse”: Microsoft has big plans

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After Meta, Microsoft has now also announced ambitious expansion plans for the Metaverse – what is the tech giant planning to do?

In the past few days everyone was talking about the so-called Metaverse. Next to Meta, formerly Facebook, now also announced Microsoft At the in-house Ignite conference, he announced his plans to venture into this new virtual world. On the crypto market, the respective announcements of both tech giants ensured that Metaverse-compatible cryptocurrencies, such as ETH and Solana, rose sharply in price.

Microsoft now wants to use the name Mesh for teams expand the company’s own communication software “Teams” with a virtual reality component. The company has that on the Ignite conference announced. Instead of classic video conferences, this should give companies the opportunity to hold meetings in virtual rooms.

With a comprehensive update, the new version of Teams should appear as a beta version in the first half of 2022 and be compatible with all common devices (PCs, smartphones and tablets). In addition, various VR glasses and Microsoft’s own AR glasses Hololens should be usable.

Mesh for Teams is designed to enable people to create avatars to communicate with. The avatars can then be used instead of the usual image transmission in classic video conferences or they can meet with their avatars in virtual environments.

The use of personalized avatars should make it possible, for example, to maintain eye contact despite the camera being switched off – facial expressions should also be fully automated.

In addition, the respective rooms should be adaptable to the type of meeting. The meeting room for the daily meeting would then, for example, be different from that for a virtual celebration.

"Gateway to the Metaverse": Microsoft has big plans
Source: https://news.microsoft.com/innovation-stories/mesh-for-microsoft-teams/

Microsoft itself describes the new Teams function as “Gateway to the Metaverse”:

It’s also a gateway to the Metaverse – a permanent digital world inhabited by people, places, and things. Think of the Metaverse as a new version – or a new vision – of the internet in which people can interact with one another.

The Metaverse allows the real world to merge with the digital world by integrating real uniqueness into every digital space, says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Virtual worlds in which tech companies are in charge

In one Interview with CNBC said the co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, critical of the tech giants’ Metaverse plans. He described the venture as a “masterpiece of cover-up and diversion” with which companies would want to gain even more power.

While he does not generally consider the plans for a metaverse to be bad, he is convinced that the crypto space can create an open and free metaverse that is not controlled by individual big tech corporations, even without Meta and Microsoft.

Ohanian fears that the “metaverse” of technology companies is really just a closed virtual reality world in which the tech giants are in charge. Microsoft and Facebook would therefore only venture into the virtual spheres in order to tease out even more profits from their customers.

The future of the Metaverse could look different on a decentralized blockchain, on which people can freely shape the virtual world of the future together. Projects such as Decentraland (MANA) or Sandbox (SAND) show how this can work today. Located on blockchains such as ETH, metaverses could arise there that are directly integrated into the decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem of the blockchain world.

In this way it would be possible for a metaverse to emerge that is freely accessible to everyone. All users could engage in cultural and economic exchange in this free metaverse, which is not dominated by a group or a state.

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