Microsoft was established only a few months after the term “internet” was first used. They’ve grown up together in some ways. Microsoft wants to move forward in lockstep with the rest of the industry.
In a deal valued at around $75 billion, Activision Blizzard, a video-game developer and publisher, will be acquired by the company in a bid to create a more immersive version of the internet known as the “metaverse.”
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The deal’s size indicates that it could have strategic value. Compared to what was expected, Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date, LinkedIn, cost half as much as originally thought. CEO of esports infrastructure platform Vindex Mike Sepso said, “The world’s largest tech companies are placing big bets on owning gamers’ attention and wallets and each step signifies an approach to the future of the metaverse.”
Earlier this year, as part of a metaverse-focused overhaul, Facebook rebranded as Meta; Nike acquired a company that could help it sell virtual sneakers for avatars; and Epic Games gave the auto industry a “test drive” of how this novel digital world might be used.
A land grab is being pushed by these companies. When it comes to the current internet, there are many who have already conquered and profited from the current version. They want to get a head start on the next version now. It’s possible that the next iteration is still years away. However, as it develops, video games may become an important part.
Metaverse entry point with Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard
When it comes to the assets they need to succeed in the future, “there is a stark divide in focus among tech and media companies,” Sepso said. In the gaming industry, “we now see the incredible stake that tech companies hold.”
Microsoft would become the third-largest gaming company in the world if it agreed to acquire Activision Blizzard. When it comes to a company that’s had a tendency to miss out on some of the biggest trends, making it a laughing stock at one point, now may be the time to get on the bandwagon.
Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen met in 1970. Bruce Burgess, via Wikimedia Commons, has provided a public domain image of himself. Microsoft may not be able to complete the acquisition, though. Antitrust regulators are expected to closely scrutinise the deal, which comes at a time when some argue that governments should do more to rein in the most powerful and influential tech firms.
A Microsoft land grab also isn’t entirely clear to me.
When it comes to new forms of the internet, there is a sense of exaggeration in some of the hype that is promoting them. A recent metaverse news cycle, for example, was sparked by a storey about someone paying $450,000 for a plot in a virtual world developed by Snoop Dogg.
Other questions arise, such as why people should be drawn into the virtual world at all when efforts to stabilise the real one are sorely needed in the face of multiple crises that deserve far more attention than an avatar’s costume.
The metaverse and its ramifications, as explored in more depth
Here are some additional resources from the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Intelligence platform in case you want to learn even more:
Metaverse human rights – this analysis shows that the technologies that power the metaverse could continue the march towards ever more intrusive data collection and surveillance. Metaverse human rights.
There was a real estate investment fund that paid $900,000 for a virtual plot of metaverse land last year that was beaten a short time later by another $2.4 million purchase in the virtual worlds.
Other companies are taking full advantage of branded gaming experiences, which are basically immersive sponsorships, by positioning their cloud services to be the fabric of the metaverse. In the Harvard Business Review, “Harvard Business Review”
“In a virtual world full of virtual goods, finance could get weird,” says the author of this piece, who imagines herself writing for a virtual magazine in a virtual office and coveting a Gen-Z copy-avatar. editor’s The New Yorker)
Ideological extremism and misinformation may spread even further in the metaverse in a country like Thailand, where internet discourse is already rife with political contention. Strategic Intelligence provides feeds of expert analysis on a wide range of subjects, including Virtual and Augmented Reality. To access the content, you’ll need to sign up.