How Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard will drive metaverse gaming to the mass market

<classe étendue="légende">Ready Player 1,000,000,0001?</span> <span class="attribution"><une classe="lien rapide-noclick-resp" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/man-virtual-helmet-mixed-media-612395738" rel="nofollow noopener" cible="_Vide" data-ylk="slk : Sergey Nivens">Sergey Nivens</a></span>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Y_P_3RV_V_TZI3sR7k_TXQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Nw–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/n00eDXuYKJYrVajYQDC4lQ- -~B/aD0yOTg7dz00OTY7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/https://media.zenfs.com/en/the_conversation_464/cb80d92f92588a4e305d76ee0c333961″ data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Y_P_3RV_V_V_V_ YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Nw – / https: //s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/n00eDXuYKJYrVajYQDC4lQ–~B/aD0yOTg7dz00OTY7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/https: //media.zenfs.com/en/the_conversation_464/cb80d92f92588a4e305d76ee0c333961 “/></div>
</div>
</div>
</figure>
<p>Microsoft was positioning itself as one of the pioneers of the metaverse even before its $75 billion deal to buy online gaming giant Activision Blizzard.  In the days after Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook last October as Meta with his feature-length promotional film about the potential of virtual worlds, Microsoft announced that users of its online meetings app Teams could transform into avatars – at first.  to accustom users to virtual interaction.</p>
<p>If this was a progressive move, the Activision deal is something very different.  Assuming this is cleared by competition authorities, it will mean that the Xbox giant controls many of the best-known virtual worlds that already exist online, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Starcraft – adding to both qu he already owns, Minecraft and Altspace VR.</p>
<p>This is the latest example of land grabbing for space by some of the world’s biggest companies in the next 3D version of the internet.  So what will it look like and how will this deal affect it?</p>
<h2>The Age of Acceleration</h2>
<p>We live in an age where the speed, scale and scope of upcoming technologies are unprecedented.  Sometimes called the age of acceleration, we will soon have mature versions of virtual reality, online ledgers of blockchain, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and haptics (interaction with computers via touch sensors) – not to mention quantum computing and brain-to-computer interfaces.</p>
<p>Like a technological tsunami, when integrated, they will challenge and change not only the way we work, learn and live, but also our conception of reality and what it is to be human.  The metaverse is likely to be at the heart of this change.</p>
<p>Yet while Zuckerberg explains how we will be able to use virtual reality (VR) headsets and augmented reality (AR) glasses to work, entertain and educate in this new immersive online space, defining the metaverse is difficult.  It is difficult to define something that is neither complete nor will ever be finished.</p>
<p><button class=The story continues

This coming environment is best viewed as the deepest form of extended reality where our physical bodies are digitally cloned, our senses saturated, and our conception of “real” hazy. That said, Zuckerberg and others have made it clear that it will also include the use of augmented reality and even smartphones to enhance our reality with Pokemon Go-style online additions – a computer screen and keyboard that we only see through AR glasses, for example.

Admittedly, we are still far from reproducing VR cultural references like Free Guy, Ready Player One or The Matrix. During the pandemic, I joined Microsoft’s VR-hosted virtual version of the Burning Man music festival on Altspace, and it showed me that the number of people gathered at the same time always hits a limit before individuals be diverted to other parallel environments.

The Opportunity

The best indications we already have of the more immersive metaverse are virtual worlds like Roblox, Sandbox, Animal Crossing and Fortnite, where singer Ariana Grande toured and rapper Travis Scott performed a concert that drew over 12 million. of attendees.

Audiences are already prepared via performances like these to transition comfortably and embody a deeper metaverse. This undoubtedly makes the metaverse controversial. Where some see interconnected worlds of endless experience and freedom, others fear a digital dystopia where we are seduced, amazed and manipulated into the glass cages of a subtle and seductive new form of capitalism.

Read more: A killer app for the metaverse? Fill it with AI avatars of ourselves – so we don’t have to go there

Either way, just as the metaverse reboots our understanding of “reality,” it opens up new avenues to monetize and reimagine consumerism. Companies like Microsoft see the magnitude of the transition and recognize its potential strategic value.

Epic Games, which owns Fortnite, whose Unreal Engine is a platform for others to create virtual worlds for free, is also leading the same charge. CEO Tim Sweeney recently spoke about working with automakers to allow potential customers to test drive vehicles and have film companies shoot content on them.

Meanwhile, Nike is one of many apparel companies to lay claim to the metaverse, having bought virtual shoemaker RTKFT. And Disney talks about “borderless storytelling in our own Disney metaverse.”

As for the Activision takeover, most of its biggest titles are multiplayer and already focused on esports (online competition). Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Starcraft, and Overwatch are all related competitive platforms. Yet these are still largely played through 2D screens rather than VR; the prize would be for users to seamlessly switch between VR versions of these games within a Microsoft metaverse.

To understand the financial opportunity, World of Warcraft provided a prime example. This is a game where you have an avatar, a list of daily tasks, and you can mine resources to craft in-game items to sell for gold. Long before bitcoin, manufacturers figured out a way to set an exchange rate against real money, and players were able to sell items and gold online for cash through purchases. PayPal.

These transactions always involved an element of trust, but technologies such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) overcome this problem. Games like Axie Infinity (not owned by Activision) have already shown the potential of buying and selling many in-game items as NFTs, and other big game companies like Square Enix and Sega are moving on. in the same direction.

Imagine every vanity item in Call of Duty or World of Warcraft converted to NFT, perhaps with Micrsoft taking a cut of the deals – that’s a huge opportunity, and in-game advertising in immersive worlds is another. With such monetization potential in games, Microsoft’s takeover of Activision looks set to put the company at the heart of it.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The conversation

The authors do not work for, consult, own stock, or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

About Mariel Baker

Check Also

Robinhood Announces New Noncustodial Crypto Wallet Allowing Investors to Store Digital Assets, Including NFTs

Robinhood announced on Tuesday that it is releasing a noncustodial cryptocurrency wallet in a standalone …