Microsoft Teams now lets you hold meetings in 3D and VR, as its immersive chatting platform Microsoft Mesh has now come out of preview.

Microsoft announced Mesh back in early 2021, essentially acting as the company’s foundation for building multi-user XR applications and letting cross-platform users connect in a virtual environment. It’s a bit like the now-defunct social VR platform Altspace VR, which Microsoft shutdown last year, albeit built exclusively for business.

Now Mesh’s immersive meetings have been integrated into Teams, which means you can schedule and join VR meetings directly from your calendar. This supports flatscreen on PC and in VR natively on Meta Quest through the dedicated Mesh app, which now out of App Lab and on the main Quest Store.

Notably, Microsoft is shutting down support for its own Mixed Reality headsets, which means probably no hope of PC VR support. There’s also no mention of HoloLens 2, which was heavily featured back in the 2021 reveal.

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There are a few differences in how Microsoft is offering its immersive meetings. Through Teams, you’ll be able to access preconfigured 3D environments, while through its Mesh platform you’ll be able to build and join custom spaces, which Microsoft is pitching to businesses looking to more fully engage with the platform.

Also, the standard Mesh features, including avatars and immersive spaces in Teams meetings, are available with a Microsoft 365 or Teams business plan. Custom immersive spaces are included with a Teams Premium license or the six-month trial for Mesh premium features, and the Mesh app, the company says on in the platform’s FAQ.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • kool

    Seems like a bad idea for an airplane but cool if your out in the boonies.

  • dextrovix

    Microsoft’s arse and elbow departments not talking to each other- why support VR in one team, when you’ve dropped supporting your own solution in another…?

    • Arno van Wingerde

      I trink Thaise are booth sides of the same coin: MS deciding (wisely) not to development hardware (why should they?) and support their VR partner Meta instead. Sounds like win-win for both parties.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        Doesn’t make sense. Microsoft didn’t support their own hardware OTHER manufacturers made for them. They didn’t make any headsets themselves for VR. Every headset had another company’s name on it. And Microsoft didn’t make any software at all for those headsets. No games.

        They didn’t support Hololens in any meaningful way and only barely got the military interested. Supporting Facebook after that lazy controller support then barely tossing apps their way is not really a win win. More like more laziness on their part after announcing that they would be supporting Quest with Windows software.

        Microsoft are lazy and only threw the stand alone headset a bone with Xbox gaming that has no VR component.

        • alxslr

          Also, they could have owned the PCVR platform, at least for productivity apps. It’s their OS. And the’ve lost the opportunity. Now what? Will we be able to have Microsoft “Mesh” meetings in Microsoft Windows VR, or only in Google/Meta Android Standalone VR? I hope they are planning some simple OpenXR solution to substitute WMR useless software, because if they are not, they’re just ignoring a low hanging fruit that could easily compete with Vision Pro at relatively low investment cost for them. Spcecially since wireless PCVR is a reality already, and there are more than one billon Windows PCs in the world.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Microsoft cannot own a productivity VR market if it doesn’t exist. So far the two things people are willing to wear headsets for are games and social VR, anything else from watching movies to architecture simulation is very niche. Quest Pro was actually well designed for use in the office, much better than previous VR HMDs, but there just aren’t enough use cases yet where VR/XR would provide enough benefit. And only once those uses cases show up in the future with at least bearable implementations, can companies like Microsoft integrate them into their well established 2D business solutions, on whatever platform works.

          • alxslr

            Good point, change then “productivity” for “spatial computing”, meaning the kind of use Apple is aiming for. What I mean is that if that becomes a market, MS is gonna be late and lost, again. And it shouldn’t necessarily be like that.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    It’s important to separate WMR and Microsoft’s general XR ambitions. They can decide that having their own hardware platform doesn’t make sense, because it never gained significant traction, but still develop on other platforms. They tried to establish Windows Phone, payed USD 8bn for Nokia, then unceremoniously buried it, but Office 365 now sell on iOS and Android. Business strategy is rarely black and white, all or nothing.

    Microsoft can extend their existing offering with XR, running on the platforms of competitors, and still make money. They are now a service oriented company, and we’ll probably not only see business oriented XR solutions like with teams, but also Microsoft becoming a very big XR content provider based on their gaming franchise empire. You can use game pass on Quest now, and while like others they aren’t pushing VR AAA right now, anybody who wants to play Halo or Minecraft or Elder Scrolls or Fallout or Doom or Call of Duty in VR/MR/XR on whatever device in the future will have to go to Microsoft’s “metaverse”.

  • Kenny Thompson

    Maybe Meta will make an effort to improve Workrooms now that someone else is going after the market. So much potential for work with these apps.

  • Nepenthe

    I have to use Teams all day long and I’ll bet VR doesn’t become enabled in my company’s implementation of Teams in 2024 or 2025.