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Microsoft is boarding the metaverse train

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This universe is presented by many as the future of the Internet, a 3D virtual world where Internet users will be able to interact using avatars, sensors and other accessories capable of plunging the human being into a universe parallel to the physical world. .

Microsoft alludes to this twice in its press release on the Activision-Blizzard takeover, emphasizing in particular, with a quote from its boss Satya Nadella, that the video game industry will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.

The man speaks on stage during a conference.

Microsoft boss Satya Nadella

Photo: Getty Images/Sean Gallup

Specialists point out that the metaverse remains for the moment a rather vague concept and that it cannot justify on its own a megaoperation like the takeover of Activision-Blizzard.

We’ll see how this all evolves to the metaverse, but it’s not done yet., estimated journalist Tom Ffiske, editor-in-chief of the publication specializing in virtual and augmented reality ImmersiveWire.

Rather, Microsoft’s decision should be seen as a strategic move within the gaming industry, he said.

But others believe that Microsoft is actually betting to achieve two targets: consolidating its position in the video game market and placing its pawns on what will, perhaps, be a new digital revolution.

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Microsoft would be following Facebook, which changed its name to Meta last year in honor of this – potential – new eldorado of technology.

Single or multiple metaverses?

The designs between the two giants diverge, however. Facebook has talked about a concept in which interactions take place in a single space. Microsoft painted a more splintered view of the metaverse.

When we think about what the metaverse could be, we believe that there will not be a single, centralized metaverse, Satya Nadella told the press after the announcement of the takeover of Activision-Blizzard.

In fact, as Theo Tzanidis, a professor of digital marketing at the University of West Scotland explains, everyone sees the future from where they started.

Facebook wants to boost technology with an already existing platform, that of its social network and its almost three billion users.

Device screens display the Meta logo.

The Facebook group has changed its name to Meta, to highlight the importance of the metaverse in its future initiatives.

Photo: Getty Images/Leon Neal

Microsoft, for its part, will rather have to buy wholesale pieces of already existing intellectual property to bring them together in a coherent way, using its powerful cloud infrastructure (clouds) and business services.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if a silent collaboration emerges between the different entities owned by Microsoft, believes Theo Tzanidis.

Other giants are slow to announce their colors

For the moment, the other giants of Silicon Valley have not revealed their strategies on the metaverse. Google, Amazon and Apple have kept their distance, at least publicly.

For Tom Ffiske, Amazon is known for carefully planning its moves, and may well, in fact, already be working on the subject, waiting for the right moment to announce its intentions.

Scott Kessler, an analyst at American research firm Third Bridge, speculates that Microsoft planned its takeover while its rivals are mired in legal and regulatory challenges around the world.

That leaves for now, in the battle to define the metaverse, two giants and many smaller companies specializing in specific aspects of the future virtual world.

Tom Ffiske cites the example of the developer of 3D solutions Unity and the video game giant Epic Games.

Behind the many debates, he remarks, engineers are quietly building the foundations of what the metaverse will be like.

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