Microsoft Shuns Consumer Market, Bets Big on Enterprise Metaverse

In a new set of layoffs, Microsoft will purge all Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) teams, according to sources. Windows CentralThe report claims that the entire team of AltspaceVR, the Microsoft-acquired social VR platform, and the team behind Microsoft’s mixed reality toolkit (MRTK) have all been affected by the downsizing.

This comes against the backdrop of the company announcing it will cut its overall workforce by 10,000 while indicating that the move will help shift focus. “To support immersive experiences powered by Microsoft Mesh.”

Going beyond consumers to businesses

At Microsoft, we see two conflicting stories going hand in hand. On the one hand, AltspaceVR was closed, and on the other, it continued to drive the vision for Microsoft Mesh. As an add-on feature of Microsoft Teams enterprise applications, people in different places can collaborate. can collaborate and participate in a shared holographic experience. With the integration of Teams productivity tools, users can join virtual meetings. communicate through chat and work on shared documents

Meanwhile, at the Future Ready Technology Summit held a few weeks ago, We saw a presentation from CEO Satya Nadella and other representatives from Microsoft about applications emerging at the intersection of AR/VR/MR technologies. Nadella alluded to bringing Mesh as a platform ready to transform the metaverse. TRUE

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He also discussed the opportunities the industrial metaverse brings. Ideas such as Digital Twins allow the addition of sensors to assets and live data streams to create twins. This enables the system to save energy, reduce waste, and provide an optimal solution under various constraints.

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Last August, we saw Microsoft team up with Unity Technologies, a real-time 3D development platform, to deliver tools and features. To speed up the development of cross-platform MR apps in Unity, this will apply especially to consumer products such as the Meta headset and Hololens, Microsoft’s mixed reality headset. Microsoft is pushing the Hololens use cases. That is greatly possible by demonstrating the product at multiple events. while behind the scenes plans to lay off the team behind the Hololens product and MR toolkit.

An interesting pattern emerges when examining the differences in Microsoft’s approach to the metaverse, rather than positioning it as a consumer product. They are treating it as an enterprise offering. Although they may have taken a step backwards in integrating AR/MR technology into PC and console games. But they still invest heavily in areas like teams and production.

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In a separate blog post, AltspaceVR mentions the same thing. It states that as they look to the future, they see VR expanding “beyond consumers into businesses,” leading to “a more open, accessible, and secure version of immersive experiences in the metaverse.”

Microsoft is not alone. Following that was Meta, which reported an operating loss of about $30 billion from its Reality Labs division last quarter. And expect to continue to lose money in the next quarter. The company announced it would be laying off 13% of its workforce from both Reality Labs and Family of Apps, but at the same time, Meta is trying to expand its VR gaming stack with the recent purchase of three game studios.

Added reports of Apple postponing the release of AR glasses indefinitely. And you’ll find that big tech may feel a huge gap between the rising cost of developing “metaverse” products and actual consumer demand. A metaverse technology that caters to consumers.

Microsoft’s high road?

If we look at some of the latest metaverse consumer companies, besides AltspaceVR, which nearly shut down in 2017 due to financial difficulties before Microsoft was resurrected to build its own mixed reality ecosystem, there’s also Oculus that can’t. can make a significant impact It even posted a $2 billion acquisition of Meta.

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In a recent survey by the Game Developers Conference, which gathered responses from 2,300 game development professionals, nearly 45% of respondents said the metaverse would not live up to its promises. by many people claiming unclear definition of the concept lack of important interactions and the high cost of hardware is a hindrance.. The important thing to note is that Although the game area has relatively few new players. But there seems to be only a small revenue opportunity that the space can offer compared to the traditional gaming industry.

Metaverse edtech startup ‘Invact Metaversity’ launched to provide immersive learning experience for students It also announced in May last year that they were considering shutting down due to technological and ecological challenges.

As the metaverse continues to evolve and take shape, Microsoft seems to have taken a cautious approach. It chooses to wait for the market to stabilize before taking on more serious risks. However, for companies like Meta and Apple, which focus on end-users It will be interesting to see how they navigate this ever-changing landscape and make strategic decisions in the midst of uncertainty.


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