• The company will introduce over 90 new services and updates in three major areas including powering the metaverse
  • “You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming,” Nadella said

Microsoft is the latest company stepping into the metaverse, joining a list of other big-name brands and businesses venturing into the digital world, the company’s CEO shared during the Microsoft Ignite conference on Tuesday.

“As the digital and physical worlds come together, we are creating an entirely new platform layer which is the metaverse,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. “In a sense, 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,” Nadella added. 

The company will introduce over 90 new services and updates in three major areas including powering the metaverse, Frank Shaw, corporate VP of communications at Microsoft said in a blog post on Tuesday.

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

Digital technology has been at the forefront of every industry in the past 18 months and is now more necessary than ever, Shaw wrote. The metaverse is a “persistent, digital world that is connected to many aspects of the physical world, including people, places and things,” he added. 

The company is thinking about a new medium and an application to power metaverses similar to the way Microsoft talked about the internet and websites back in the 1990s. With that, the company plans to “continue the evolution of the metaverse” through two new initiatives, Shaw stated. 

The first initiative, Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces, will provide people the ability to interact from any space from the retail stores to factory floors through AI-powered models and observational data while the second initiative Mesh for Microsoft Teams will allow people to use personalized avatars and immersive spaces. The preview for the first initiative will be available in early December, while the second product will roll out in the first half of 2022, the company stated.  

Mesh for Teams users can bring their avatars into immersive spaces, it said. Image courtesy of Microsoft

“The metaverse enables shared experiences across both the physical and digital worlds. As enterprises accelerate their digital transformation, the metaverse can help people meet up in a digital environment, make meetings more comfortable with the use of avatars and facilitate creative collaboration from all around the world,” Shaw said. 

Avatars can meet and collaborate in Mesh for Teams immersive space with both the physical and digital world. Image courtesy of Microsoft

Separately from these products, Nadella said on Bloomberg TV that its video game brand Xbox will “absolutely” focus on incorporating metaverse into its games.

“You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming,” he 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’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. 

  • Jacquelyn Melinek is a Houston-based reporter covering digital asset funds and markets. She previously reported on energy markets for S&P Global Platts and Bloomberg News and is published in over 65 news outlets. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Media and Journalism.