The Microsoft deal to acquire Activision Blizzard in January 2022 sparked a lot of discussion about the metaverse. However, it seems that the focus of attention was more on business communications than gaming. According to public statements and leaked documents, the Activision deal holds promise for the future of cryptocurrency.
In Microsoft’s announcement of the deal, the metaverse was highlighted as a key aspect. The company stated that the acquisition would accelerate the growth of its gaming business and provide the building blocks for the metaverse. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella further emphasized the role of gaming in the development of metaverse platforms.
Nadella elaborated on his vision for metaverse development in an interview the following month. He described Microsoft’s efforts as “building metaverse applications” or experiences in business applications, productivity tools, meetings, and games. This emphasis on work is significant and suggests that Microsoft sees the metaverse as a platform that can be integrated into various business functions.
Microsoft’s metaverse platform, Mesh, was introduced this month and is positioned as a complement to its Teams business communications platform. Mesh not only offers immersive 3D meetings but also includes built-in interactive games for team bonding. This demonstrates Microsoft’s belief in the potential of the metaverse as a tool for enhancing collaboration and productivity in the workplace.
Interestingly, the metaverse was not mentioned in Microsoft Gaming’s statements at the beginning and completion of the Activision deal. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer also expressed less enthusiasm for the metaverse in 2022. In an interview, he questioned the concept of the metaverse and expressed caution about play-to-earn games. Spencer was later quoted as calling the metaverse “a poorly built videogame” and stating that he did not want to spend most of his time in a metaverse that resembled a meeting room.
In contrast, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has expressed enthusiasm for the metaverse. He believes that the vision of a metaverse presented in books like “Snow Crash” and “Ready Player One” will materialize as something real. In an interview on the day the Activision deal was announced, Kotick and Spencer appeared together on CNBC. Kotick acknowledged the importance of the metaverse in the race for its development, while Spencer did not mention it.
While Spencer may have shown less interest in the metaverse, he appears to be more bullish on cryptocurrency. Leaked internal documents indicate that Microsoft planned to integrate crypto wallets into Xbox. Although Spencer downplayed the leak, he did not deny the information, suggesting that the plans to incorporate cryptocurrency into Xbox may still be in play. If this is the case, it could potentially extend to the new Microsoft game holdings acquired through the Activision deal.
In conclusion, the Microsoft deal to acquire Activision Blizzard has generated significant discussion about the metaverse. While Microsoft’s initial statements emphasized the role of the metaverse in its gaming business, subsequent comments from its executives suggest a greater focus on utilizing the metaverse for business applications and productivity. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick remains enthusiastic about the metaverse, while Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer appears more interested in cryptocurrency integration. Only time will tell how this deal will shape the future of the metaverse and the gaming industry as a whole.