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Microsoft enters the race to the apocalypse with its own entry into the metaverse

Like Facebook, Microsoft is betting a lot on VR use in the future.

metaverse in microsoft teams
Image: Microsoft

After Mark Zuckerberg recently shocked (well, maybe shocked isn’t the best word) the world by renaming Facebook to Meta and diving deep into his plans to bring us all into a virtual world eerily similar to Ready Player One, Microsoft has decided to reveal its own vision for an equally creepy metaverse.

Earlier this week, Microsoft revealed that it would be bringing its VR technology, Mesh, to Teams sometime in 2022. The company first revealed Mesh earlier this year, but this announcement represents its first implementation in one of the company’s services.

To start off, Mesh will develop new customizable 3D avatars that people can use to represent themselves in Microsoft Teams meetings. But where Microsoft really sees Mesh excelling is in its virtual immersive spaces.

In addition to developing virtual avatars that people can customize to represent themselves, Microsoft is also proposing fully immersive virtual spaces where team members can meet together to collaborate on projects.

Within one of these virtual spaces, coworkers will be able to gather together in an immersive room with various apps that can be utilized to help workers feel like they are working together.

Do we really need the metaverse from Microsoft?

microsoft teams metaverse
Image: Microsoft

But with all this talk about the metaverse and virtual meetings, it begs the question: Do we really need the metaverse?

Sure, the way we work has definitely evolved over the last couple of years, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic helping propel work-from-home, but is it really necessary that we build a virtual world just to make things go back somewhat to the way they were?

We asked our friend Curtis, who spent “nearly two decades in some sort of cubicle formation,” how he felt about Mesh in Microsoft Teams, and he makes a pretty good point.

“Proposing that I be enthusiastic about opening up my mind to a virtual meeting with – and however delightful my co-workers are at a great distance – people who schedule too many damn meetings as it is is wildly inappropriate. Perhaps I’m being cynical, but just as logging into a virtual world to look at PowerPoint presentations seems like a legal brand of corporate torture. Virtual, physical meetings are in no way appealing to someone who has aptly adapted to the work-at-home life.”

I agree completely with Curtis’s point here. For someone whose job comprises mostly of computer work, this whole push into a virtual world seems wildly unnecessary.

Curtis went on to say “when I log into VR, I want to escape,” and I couldn’t agree more. When VR finally started to become a reality, it was a beacon for exciting things like gaming together and hanging out with friends from anywhere in the world. I just want to shit my pants in VR, is that too much to ask?

Now, with Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft taking charge of the movement, the VR movement has seemed to shift more towards work and productivity. Leave it to big tech companies to lure us in with exciting visions of the future just to cut us down and remind us that we’re all still cogs in the wheel.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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