Back in March 2021, Microsoft announced a new way for people to interact with each other using avatars in 3D digital environments. It was called Microsoft Mesh and at the time it was supposed to use the Azure cloud platform to allow “people in different physical locations to join shared holographic experiences on many types of devices.”
In May 2023, during the announcement of adding 3D avatars to Teams video meetings, it was also revealed that the company was going to launch a version of Mesh in a private preview test.
Today, the company announced that Microsoft Mesh will finally launch as a public preview sometime in October as a Teams feature. in a blog postMicrosoft described how Mesh will work in Teams:
- Avatars: When you enter an immersive space, choose an avatar you’ve already built for standard 2D Teams meetings or create a new one. It’s easy to customize your avatar to reflect your look, style or mood for the day.
- 3D Environments: Choose from one of the ready-made 3D environments to suit your meeting needs, whether it’s a large team social gathering or a small round table discussion.
- Seat assignments: Choose where you sit in a meeting or event to connect with your co-workers. You can also freely switch from one conversation to another.
- Audio Zones and Spatial Audio: Conduct multiple calls at once and effectively communicate in subgroups without talking over each other.
- Interactive Activities: Play structured interactive team bonding games in immersive spaces. To get started, you can see some designated areas for roasting marshmallows, tossing pops, answering fun ice-breaking questions, and more.
- Live Comments: Use live comments such as hearts, thumbs up, claps and more to express yourself during discussions.
Businesses will also have the option to create their own Mesh experience using a special editor or with the more advanced Mesh Toolkit.
The Mesh public preview will support PC platforms, along with the Meta Quest VR headset. This likely includes the upcoming Meta Quest 3, which will launch this fall for $499.99. More information about Meta Quest 3 will be revealed at the Meta Connect developer event starting Wednesday, September 27.