Microsoft brings Minesweeper, Solitaire and Wordament to Teams

Satya Nadella, President and CEO of Microsoft Corp., speaks during the virtual Meta Connect event in New York on October 11, 2022.

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The next time you’re bored on a Microsoft Teams call, try joining your colleagues in a game of Minesweeper.

Microsoft on Wednesday added a collection of casual games to its Teams chat and calling service as the company tries to get people to spend more time on the app. Solitaire will also be available, along with a new game called IceBreakers created by Microsoft to help teammates get to know each other.

Microsoft is trying to make Teams the premier destination for work, expanding on a product that exploded during the pandemic, when employees were forced to meet and collaborate virtually. Teams is now available on the most popular devices and desktop software developers include Adobe Y SAP have developed Teams integrations.

By adding games, Microsoft is trying to add some fun to the equation and maybe even strengthen bonds at work. Employees can remotely join together to win in a game of Minesweeper, a puzzle game with clickable squares that includes some virtual mines to be avoided. People can also just watch the entertainment.

“Enhanced spectator mode allows everyone, whether actively playing that round or not, to follow the action and engage with the players on screen,” Nicole Herskowitz, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, wrote in a blog post. She likened it to the experience of watching “Jeopardy.”

Games are a familiar product for Microsoft. In addition to the entire Xbox franchise, which launched in 2001, the company has plenty of ways to play casual games. The classic game Klondike, for example, is part of the Microsoft Solitaire Collection application for Windows.

In January, Microsoft Announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard, which publishes first-person shooters in the Call of Duty franchise, for about $69 billion. the agreement it must first overcome regulatory hurdles.

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Minesweeper and Solitaire debuted with Microsoft in 1990. A variation on a 19th-century card game, Solitaire was a utility designed to help people get familiar with Windows and learn how to use a mouse, but it ended up becoming the most popular game around. In Internet. the operating system, the Washington Post reported in 1994. The newspaper said that Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder and first CEO, had such a severe addiction to Minesweeper that he removed the game from his PC.

The big move now for Microsoft is getting executives to renew and upgrade their subscriptions to Office 365, a core package the company is currently rebranding as Microsoft 365. Office accounted for 23% of Microsoft’s total revenue in the third quarter.

Microsoft is even positioning gaming as a potential way to enhance cognitive development. In an email to CNBC, a Microsoft spokesperson cited a to study of more than 2,000 children, suggesting that those who played video games saw gains in working memory compared to those who did not.

As part of its new release, Microsoft is also bringing a mobile game called Wordament to Teams. The Boggle-like game appeared in 2011 after Microsoft asked employees to create Windows Phone apps in their spare time, leading two employees to design the game as something to play. with their wives. The game, which challenges players to find words among a grid of letters, has amassed 1 million downloads on Android.

The Microsoft spokesman said the IceBreakers idea was particularly popular.

“As we tested different game ideas at Microsoft, this was one of the most requested game types, and we listened to feedback to create this game,” the spokesperson wrote in the email.

Minesweeper, Solitaire, Wordament, and IceBreakers are in the Games for Work app for Teams, which is now available to Microsoft business and education customers. Admins need to enable app access in Teams for users to play. The company will bring more partner games to Teams in 2023, Herskowitz wrote.

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