At this precise moment in time, the metaverse feels a bit like a mysterious creature in a fable – no one can quite describe what it looks like but everyone is sure it exists.
Despite this somewhat nebulous quality, the giants of the tech-world are all currently taking big bets on the M-word being the future of the internet.
Now Microsoft has entered the fray with its purchase of games titan Activision Blizzard.
According to Newsweek, Microsoft’s recent acquisition is the “most expensive business acquisition in gaming history.” So why did the company’s CEO, Satya Nadella, pay so much?
Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation, have, of course, long fought blow for blow to dominate the gaming sector.
And, with this purchase, Microsoft is getting the teams responsible for Call of Duty, Candy Crush and World of Warcraft. To pit against Sony’s God of War and The Last of Us.
But key industry analysts believe , Nadella’s willingness to pay such a high price for Activision has been taken with one eye on Facebook – now Meta – and their recent much-heralded repositioning towards the metaverse.
A virtual landgrab is underway. If the metaverse really is the future of the web, Microsoft understand they can’t afford to miss out.
Newsweek goes on to quote Mike Proulx, VP for Forrester Research – "Microsoft is now holding a number of important cards in the developing metaverse: back-end infrastructure, devices, and now an experience platform."
And business news channel Bloomberg sees gaming as “one of Microsoft’s two big metaverse plays.” The other being Microsoft Office and Teams – the future of work.
Satya Nadella, told Bloomberg, “When we think about our vision for what our metaverse can be, we believe there won't be a single centralized metaverse and there shouldn't be,” the CEO said. “We need to support many metaverse platforms, as well as a robust ecosystem of content, commerce and applications.”
Not one mysterious creature then. But many. Has Nadella bet $68 billion on the right dark horse? Only time will tell.