Microsoft plans to make Xbox games for the metaverse, the en vogue term to describe three-dimensional experiences within the AR, VR and mixed reality realm.
The company’s CEO Satya Nadella told Bloomberg TV that it is focused on finding ways to transform some of its biggest gaming franchises from the traditional 2D experience into the 3D world.
Nadella says that the likes of Halo, Minecraft and Flight Simulator already exist in a metaverse (someone’s gonna have to come up with an agreed-upon term for what this actually means at some point, right?).
He said: “You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming. If you take Halo as a game, it is a metaverse. Minecraft is a metaverse, and so is Flight Sim. In some sense, they’re 2D today, and the question is can you now take that to a full 3D world, and we absolutely plan to do so.”
What form these games will take, when they will arrive, and what platforms they’ll be available on remains to be seen. Nadella has, probably quite deliberately, kept it vague here.
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Any mixed reality experiences from Xbox would likely be available on the company’s own HoloLens headsets, but given the company’s more recent desire to have its games available on all connected screens, there’s no reason why there couldn’t be an Xbox Cloud Gaming equivalent for the Meta (nee Oculus) stable of headsets. We can’t see a launch of Xbox metaverse games on PlayStation VR 2 though!
Initially, Microsoft’s metaverse plans will focus around its corporate apps and services. Microsoft Teams is first up, bringing digital avatars to the virtual reality realm in the first half of next year. It’ll be possible to share and view files like PowerPoint presentations in the shared digital environments.
“This pandemic has made the commercial use cases much more mainstream, even though sometimes the consumer stuff feels like science fiction,” Nadella said.