Last night, CEO and chairman Satya Nadella made the announcement on Twitter with a video. He described it as something that spans “from the factory floor to the meeting room.”
The firm said the first part of metaverse will be Mesh for Teams, which will be available sometime next year. Microsoft unveiled Mesh, its mixed-reality platform, earlier this year. The new experience is part of that megaproject.
The metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it – from the factory floor to the meeting room. Take a look. pic.twitter.com/h5tsdYMXRD
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 2, 2021
The company’s idea is to have meetings with your remote colleagues in a virtual space while you can feel their ‘presence’ through virtual avatars. It’s great for someone who sits in their t-shirt and shorts at home, but can present their avatars in more suitable apparel. That’s a win-win.
But floating torsos without legs shown in Microsoft’s demo videos made me think of ghosts roaming around Hogwarts. Sure, a nice suit would be great on my avatar, but I’d like some pants, and maybe some legs with that.
But all hope is not lost. When senior journalist Walt Mossberg pointed this out, the company’s lead for communications, Frank Shaw, replied that these are just 2D avatars, and they’re only the first step of the journey. So Microsoft’s final metaverse version might actually have legs. Phew!
This is 2d avatars not 3d. With 3d we will need more sensors to capture real hands and legs… But this is a very real first step.
— Frank X. Shaw (@fxshaw) November 3, 2021
Microsoft said that initially, you’ll be able to hang out with your colleagues in virtual spaces such as meeting rooms, coffee areas, or water coolers. But eventually, you’ll be able to design your own spaces. Maybe themed meeting spaces is the future.
You can read more about Microsoft Mesh here.