Tuesday, February 27, 2024

AltspaceVR by Microsoft announces to shut down permanently

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As Microsoft has announced layoff of about 10000 employees, it looks like its Metaverse plans may take backseat. Microsoft gave a big hint in a blogpost where they revealed that it is shutting down its VR platform for good.

AltspaceVR, a social VR platform founded in 2013 and acquired by Microsoft in 2017, has just announced that it will be closing permanently.

On the day when Facebook turned its name into Meta, it was quite sure about its routes towards Metaverse. Apart from Facebook, many other companies started showing interests towards Metaverse, and one of them is surely Microsoft. But, suddenly in the last week Microsoft declared layoff of about 10000 employees. So, we believe there are chances of Microsoft has cut out its plans.

A big hint that Microsoft gave is that it is shutting down its VR project for good. AltspaceVR, the platform will cease to exist from March 10, 2023. The platform, which featured user-generated spaces called “Worlds” and hosted live virtual events from a magic show to a red carpet premier, has connected people across the world. In an email to users, AltspaceVR cited the closure due to its parent company Microsoft’s decision to shift its focus onto launching Microsoft Mesh, a VR experience for Microsoft Teams, the company’s video conferencing platform.

“Over the past decade, our platform has played host to an astonishing array of virtual events and experiences: group meditations, LGBTQ+ meetups, faith-based gatherings, open mics, stand-up comedy, karaoke, concerts, and so much more. It has provided a space for people to explore their identities, express themselves, and find community,” AltspaceVR wrote in its email to users announcing the shutdown. “It has unlocked passions among users, provided incredible educational opportunities and pathways to personal growth, and inspired many to create unique and wonderful events, experiences, art, and Worlds. People have formed cherished friendships, found love, and even married IRL. Though it’s sad to say goodbye, we are heartened by the absolute magic that happened here.”
AltspaceVR’s closure comes at a time when metaverses are struggling. Metaverse experiences launched amid the now-muted Web3 hype were, even at the height of the crypto hysteria janky. Meta’s Horizon Worlds VR metaverse project has been met, so far, by widespread ridicule over its graphics, lack of features, and generally its dubious reason for existing. According to AltspaceVR, the team will be shifting its focus to developing Microsoft Mesh, a new platform for remote workplace collaboration using VR. 
“The decision [to shutter AltspaceVR] has not been an easy one as this is a platform many have come to love, providing a place for people to explore their identities, express themselves, and find community,” the Altspace VR press release said.

“With Mesh, we aspire to build a platform that offers the widest opportunity to all involved, including creators, partners and customers.”

As Altspace VR comes to a close, the company is encouraging its community to host final events and download their content.

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