Facebook vs Microsoft: The Metaverse Era

Facebook has changed its corporate name to Meta as part of a major rebrand, putting FB’s resources toward the metaverse. The word metaverse comes from the union of the Greek word “after” and the word “universe”, which translates as space. The purpose of metaverse is to create a virtual environment similar to the real world.

In this virtual world the user will be able to have nearly all the experiences of real life.

The Age of Digital Teleportation

For such an ambitious endeavor a simple computer, a smart phone and a strong internet connection, are not enough.

In all this new milestone for the digital revolution, Facebook has stated that it will invest money, time and research in order to lead us to the peak of metaverse in 10 to 15 years from now.

But what does this transition mean for Facebook?

Reading between the lines, we realize that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will not cease to exist. Instead, they will be used as applications within the metaverse network.

It’s worth mentioning that Zuckerberg has emphasized that this new virtual world cannot be created by only him, but will be built through collaborations with many other companies.

However, Facebook has invested a lot in this transition, which is now officially becoming the main goal of Zuckerberg and his associates.

New Job Openings for Metaverse

Last summer was announced that metaverse it will create 10,000 new jobs in the EU alone.

For the tech giant, Europe is an area with many advantages when it comes to hiring, as it has first-class universities and abundance of trained talent.

The Indirect Response to Criticism

Zuckerberg claims that this choice is made because his basic principle is “we make money to build better services”, but it is obvious that he eagerly wants to make the ultimate in this new era, consolidating his dominance before the competition even appears.

In the meantime…

Microsoft brings metaverse into Teams, as part of Windows 11.

From the upcoming year users will appear as live avatars in their web chats, without having to wear any VR device, and they will also be able to visit and share virtual workspaces.

Microsoft’s actions show one hand that the big tech companies are taking metaverse seriously, and on the other hand that they won’t let Facebook dominate this change.

Microsoft announced that within the first half of next year,

Companies’ personnel and other users of the Microsoft Teams will have the option to appear as a digital version of themselves, when participating in virtual meetings and digital events.

The US company’s design is built on the new Mesh technology, which enables the management of complex virtual interactions on different devices, from computers to virtual reality “helmets” worn on the head.

Microsoft believes that, after the extensive use of the work-from-home and hybrid work model (partly physically and partly remotely), this will be the next major thing in the business world. More specifically, it is believed that employees will progressively interact in virtual and augmented reality environments, without having to show their real face to the camera. Users will have the option to appear as their real self in a virtual meeting or an online event or choose to have their avatar representing them.

“With 250 million people around the world using Teams, the introduction of avatars will be the first real metaverse to appear real,” said Jared Spataro, CEO of Teams.

The tech giant is about to combine other software into the new virtual reality such as allowing Teams’ users to make PowerPoint presentations in metaverse. More than that, Microsoft aims to use artificial intelligence to make avatars move their lips as the users speaks, make facial expressions and gestures. Specifically, after first hearing the voice of the person, the avatar will move his lips as if they were really saying the words with the human voice, while at the same time other participants will be able to see facial expressions and gestures that will be added to the avatars.

The most interesting feature of all is the translation support. This new addition will be eventually added to let users from all over the world communicate through the Teams virtual space without language barriers. Additionally, businesses will have the option to create their own virtual places, something like individual metaverses within Microsoft Teams.

This appears to be a gradual and probably a more realistic view to employee adoption to metaverse, which seems a bit different to the revolutionary vision of FB. It is clear though that Microsoft and Facebook will compete in the metaverse era.