Microsoft’s Activision buy may see more metaverse in the office and crypto in gaming


Rather a lot was mentioned about the metaverse when the Microsoft deal to amass Activision Blizzard was introduced in January 2022. The consideration was primarily on enterprise communications somewhat than gaming. If public statements and leaked paperwork are any information, the Activision deal might promise more for the way forward for crypto than the metaverse. 

The metaverse had excessive visibility in Microsoft’s announcement of its deal for Activision in January 2002. “This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business […] and will provide building blocks for the metaverse,” the firm said in the first paragraph. A couple of paragraphs later, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioned, “Gaming […] will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms.”

Nadella elaborated on his imaginative and prescient for metaverse improvement in an interview the following month, telling the Financial Times:

“We are building, quite frankly, metaverse applications, if I could call them that. Or experiences in business applications, in productivity tools, and meetings and games — all three on a common platform.”

Nadella’s emphasis on work is telling. He listed 4 issues and referred to them as “all three” — apparently, “meetings and games” depend as one. Microsoft’s metaverse platform, Mesh, which started previews this month, is positioned as a complement to its Teams enterprise communications platform.

Mesh comprises a gaming element too. While promising “you will transform your two-dimensional (2D) meeting into a 3D immersive experience,” it added:

“Play built-in interactive games for team bonding within immersive spaces. To get started, you can see a few designated areas to roast marshmallows, throw beanbags, answer fun icebreaker questions, and more.”

The metaverse went unmentioned in the Microsoft Gaming statements at the beginning and completion of the deal on Oct. 13, and Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer made it clear later in 2022 that his enthusiasm for it was weaker.

Related: FTC opposes Microsoft’s metaverse-focused Activision Blizzard purchase

Spencer questioned what the metaverse even is in an interview with Bloomberg in August. “My view on Metaverse is that gamers have been in the Metaverse for 30 years,” he mentioned. He mentioned little about the Web3 metaverse besides that he was “cautious” about play-to-earn. He was later quoted as calling the metaverse “a poorly built videogame” and saying, “Building a metaverse that looks like a meeting room, I just find that’s not where I want to spend most of my time.”

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is passionate about the metaverse. He said in 2021, “We’re going to get to a place where that original vision that Neil Stephenson had in Snow Crash or what you see in [Ernest Cline’s] Ready Player One is going to start to materialize as something that is very real.”

In an interview on CNBC on the day the Activision deal was announced, Kotick and Spencer appeared together on CNBC. Kotick said, “We’re beginning to see what the metaverse will be like, and in that race for the metaverse, it started to become apparent that there were a variety of resources and talent that we needed,” Kotick mentioned. Spencer didn’t point out the metaverse.

Kotick will stay with Activision by means of the finish of the yr.

Spencer may be more bullish on cryptocurrency, nonetheless. Leaked inside paperwork reportedly revealed that Microsoft deliberate to combine crypto wallets into Xbox. Spencer downplayed the leak, saying “so much has changed,” however didn’t deny any of the data. If the plans to include crypto haven’t modified, they may probably be expanded all through the new Microsoft video games holdings.

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