As our physical world blends with the virtual world, the entertainment reality is changing as well. Microsoft thinks this has accelerated to the point that the M&E industry is probably five years ahead of where it thought it would be.
“What you see is companies looking to reimagine their workflows because the lines between media types are disappearing,” Simon Crownshaw, CTO for Media & Entertainment at Microsoft, told Microsoft news outlet Technology Record. “These transformations are ramping up at an amazing rate.”
An obvious place to look is how COVID-19 on has reshaped the workflows of productions across the industry. Remote working and geographically dispersed teams linked online and via cloud are now embedded.
“One of the workflows that I think the cloud is providing is to defragment social fabrics,” said Crownshaw. “Many people have multiple profiles on different social media platforms, but media companies want to understand you as an individual customer.”
Microsoft, for example, has been leveraging Xbox technology and the digital community it drives. By employing a single unified user profile, the company gets a complete view of the customer across those platforms, which allows it to provide a connected and informative digital world customers.
Not stated by Crownshaw is that this policy relies on gathering more data from the consumer and is a part of the jigsaw for building a cross-platform Metaverse.
Gaming is another core to the Metaverse and its technologies have become a disruptive force within distribution and creation.
“In traditional, linear broadcasting, it would take days, weeks or even months for a visual effect to be inserted into a film,” Crownshaw observes. “But with game engine technology, this process goes much more quickly. Real-time rendering enables teams to get instant verification of what their ideas look like. With that feedback, they can create different, immersive experiences, eliminating waste at every phase of production.”
Even as the pandemic subsides, media organizations must turn their attention to adjusting their business models to tackling the threat of climate change. Microsoft highlights sustainability as leading the drive to further radicalizing production, distribution and consumption habits and technologies.
“It’s going to be really hard to become carbon negative without transforming workflows on a greater scale than we ever have,” he says. “Some of the technologies required won’t even have been invented yet, and it’s not something that M&E in general has begun engaging with on a large scale. But, with such drastic results of a changing climate, I believe businesses will work much harder to understand and reduce their impact. Having spent time with leaders across the industry, I think it’s starting to become a critical issue.”