Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO Hails Activision Deal As Grand Step Into Metaverse

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO Hails Activision Deal As Grand Step Into Metaverse
Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO Hails Activision Deal As Grand Step Into Metaverse

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, Hails Activision Deal As Grand Step Into Metaverse.

Technology first developed for video games will one day shape much of Microsoft’s software and lie at the heart of the next big computing platform, this is according to Satya Nadella, the US software company’s chief executive.

Speaking in his first interview since Microsoft’s agreement last month to pay $75bn for games maker Activision Blizzard, Nadella sought to paint the world’s biggest ever tech deal as center to the future of online interaction as people spend more time in what has become known as the metaverse.

In the first of a new monthly ‘Tech Exchange’ interviews, the Microsoft boss explained why his $75b deal for Activision Blizzard is central to shaping online interaction. He also claimed that boosting its game-building capabilities was close to the company’s original business of creating software tools for developers.

That would enable it to

“Democratize game building, which today is only done in the context of entertainment.” he said.

In future, the same techniques would

“bring it . . . to anyone who wants to build any space, and have essentially people, places, things digitized.” he continued.

“We can start dreaming through these metaverses I can literally be in the game, just like I can be in a conference room with you in a meeting. That metaphor . . . will manifest itself in different contexts,” he said.

While Nadella painted the giant acquisition as an important step in the race to build the next version of the internet, it has sent shockwaves through the current games industry, where Microsoft is in a pitched battle with Sony for dominance of console gaming.

The US company’s head of gaming, Phil Spencer, has already given informal assurances that it won’t take Activision’s most popular game, Call of Duty, away from Sony.

But Nadella suggested that Microsoft shouldn’t need to make any formal concessions to win regulatory approval for the deal, since it would still be too small to have an anti-competitive impact.

“At the end of the day, all the analysis here has to be done through a lens of: ‘what’s the category we’re talking about, and market structure?. Even post-this acquisition, we will be number three with sort of low-teens share [of the video games market] . . . We will be a bit player in what will be a highly fragmented place.” he said.

The Microsoft chief conceded that competition regulators were also likely to focus on the deal’s impact on the future development of the metaverse, rather than just on the current gaming market.

He assured that Microsoft was committed to building open computing platforms that would make it possible for people to move freely between different companies’ virtual worlds. He added that if regulators try to impose rules to keep any metaverses open and connected, they should apply the same rules to all the tech companies.

“If that is what we want to define for every entrant, all I care about is having equal rules of the road for all participants, So if that . . . comes through legislation or through regulation or regulatory enforcement, whatever form, we will be very open to it and engaging.” he said.

Using current technology, the virtual worlds built by different companies would be as disconnected as gamers playing discrete video game titles today. According to the Microsoft chief, this has highlighted the need for new standards that would let people take their digital identity from one metaverse to another, along with personal digital items.

“If I’m going from one game to another game, or I’m going from one website to another website, I can actually go without being disintermediated by somebody else in the middle of it, from a discovery plane or search plane, or what have you.” he said.

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