Microsoft Teams Adds Support for Classic Games
Microsoft Teams brings Solitaire, Minesweeper, & more classic games to its platform in an effort to help business clients boost employee morale.
Microsoft Teams today launched a new Games for Work app which brings a variety of classic games such as Minesweeper & Solitaire to its ecosystem. The feature was developed by Microsoft Casual Games, a division of Xbox Game Studios, formerly known as Microsoft Game Studios. A company representative said the main idea behind Games for Work is to provide alternative team-building activities to its clients looking to boost employee morale.
Microsoft Teams is a business communication platform built around a video-calling app similar to Skype & Zoom. Despite the fact that it’s designed for enterprise customers, Games for Work is not the first gamey feature that was added to the service. At this point last year, Microsoft started building its own metaverse akin to Facebook’s take on the idea, complete with a virtual space which users can explore as 3D avatars. The concept was introduced to Microsoft Teams earlier this year in the form of an app called Mesh.
Unlike Mesh, Games for Work is described as a “pilot app” whose future roadmap is about as far from set in stone as possible. Instead, its developers are hoping to use early user feedback to decide what kind of games, features, & changes to introduce moving forward. Besides Minesweeper & the iconic time-waster that is Microsoft Solitaire, the vanilla version of Games for Work also offers access to IceBreakers, a game designed to help players get to know one another through a series of this-or-that questions, followed by a quiz. There’s also Wordament, a puzzler that rewards quick thinking & eloquence.
Though the Games for Work app is exclusive to Microsoft Teams, some titles from its catalog—including Wordament & Microsoft Solitaire—were previously released on Android & iOS. Microsoft Teams VP, Nicole Herskowitz, contextualized the decision to invest in this unconventional feature by quoting a Brigham Young University study which found that short-form video games lead to a 20% productivity boost compared to traditional team-building exercises.
While this latest addition to Microsoft Teams is designed to boost interpersonal communications & even help business staffers have some fun, employee morale isn’t at the top of its parent company’s current priority list. Less than a month ago, Microsoft laid off almost 1,000 employees, citing slowing revenue growth across the board.
In the context of the gaming market, that slowdown is also one of the reasons why the conglomerate is continuing with its aggressive acquisition strategy which most recently led to its attempt to purchase Activision Blizzard. That said, Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition is currently being investigated by multiple antitrust authorities, with the fate of the $68 billion deal thus remaining uncertain.
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