Microsoft’s metaverse animates open source capabilities
The Future. Microsoft is constructing the building blocks of the metaverse through its Teams platform and Mesh software, allowing users to create accurate cartoon avatars of themselves that will soon be portable across the internet. While that goal is still far out, Microsoft could show the possibilities by creating a connected world that brings together Teams, Xbox games, and Minecraft.
Send in the avatars
Microsoft’s metaverse ambitions are getting cartoony.
- Microsoft announced that it’s meshing its collaboration and communication platform, Mesh, with its co-working platform, Teams.
- This will allow users to bring cartoon avatars of themselves into Teams.
- Using a user’s webcam, Teams will be able to replicate their movements and facial expressions on the avatar.
What is the obsession with tech companies using cartoon avatars for their metaverses? Jared Spataro, VP of Microsoft 365 and Teams, says a) that’s as good as the tech allows, and b) it’s the best option for allowing people to feel like they’re participating in a meeting without having to show their actual face all the time, which has proven to be exhausting.
Notably, using a cartoon avatar made 70% of people feel like that person was “present” during the meeting.
But Microsoft doesn’t want to focus on building its own metaverse. Instead, it sees Mesh as being the foundational glue that acts as a portal to all the different rooms present in the metaverse — a concept known as web3. Mesh provides the infrastructure to connect people through any device — AR and VR lenses, smartphones, and laptops.
Alex Kipman, a technical fellow for AI and mixed reality at Microsoft, says, “I subscribe to a multiverse. Every website today is a metaverse tomorrow. What makes the internet interesting […] is linking between websites.” Teams is meant to be a “prototype” for that concept, allowing brands to set up their metaverse rooms on the platform.
With Mesh, Microsoft wants to be at the forefront of creating avatars that can move through the metaverse, allowing users to bring clothes, accessories, and more from one part of the internet to another… all while following the unique rules of each world.