Microsoft is currently working on bringing casual games to the Microsoft Teams video calling service. Sources tell The Verge (opens in new tab) the company has begun testing games like Solitaire, Connect 4 and Wordament inside Teams. It seems that the Redmond-based tech giant wants to liven up Teams meetings by including games colleagues can play. But is this a good idea?
At the moment, the games being introduced into Teams are reportedly from Microsoft’s own Casual Games (opens in new tab) catalog. That means you shouldn’t expect to play company first-party offerings like Halo Infinite or Forza Horizon 5 with your team. Game integration is only being tested and it’s possible businesses and consumers may never see the feature. The Verge reached out to Microsoft for comment but it did not detail its plans.
The Verge says Microsoft is also working on virtual spaces inside Teams where colleagues can socialize and network with games. Teams’ “Together Mode” looks to get 3D avatars as a way to make meetings feel more immersive and enjoyable.
Since the onset of the global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, Microsoft has introduced features to its Teams service meant to liven it up. This makes sense considering the number of people who have been forced to work from home. But even now as the world is transitioning to hybrid work, the company is continuing its efforts to make Microsoft Teams a more inviting virtual space.
While we can applaud what Microsoft is trying to do, we have to question the utility of having games on Teams. I don’t know about you, but I leave meetings the instant they’re over. I like my colleagues well enough, but I’m not trying to stick around longer than I have to. And it's possible meetings would either be unproductive or could last longer than necessary if people are busy gaming.
To be fair, games on Teams could work if the purpose of the call is meeting a new member or a virtual happy hour at work. Bottom line: implementing games with Microsoft Teams seems like a neat idea on paper, but I’m not sure how it will work out in the real world.