Microsoft shuts down VR social network AltspaceVR

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Microsoft has announced it is shutting down AltspaceVR, a virtual reality (VR) social networking startup acquired in 2017.

Social networking platform AltspaceVR will be shutting down on March 10th. The announcement was made a few days later Microsoft announces the layoff of 10,000 employees and change its “hardware category”. Microsoft acquired the VR company for an undisclosed amount just months after AltspaceVR was due to close due to financial difficulties.

Microsoft acquired AltspaceVR at a time when it was promoting HoloLens running on Windows 10 and tethering Mixed reality headsets from Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung. At the time, Microsoft chief Satya Nadella named augmented reality, like HoloLens, one of Microsoft’s three big bets. Others are AI and quantum computing.

AltspaceVR team will now focus on immersive experiences powered by Microsoft Mesh, the avatar mixed reality world that Microsoft has begun to bring to Teams after announcing Grid in 2021.

The connection between Grid and Team seems to be where AltspaceVR will focus their VR efforts by creating new “workplace experiences”.

“We look forward to what’s to come, including the launch of Microsoft Mesh, a new platform for connectivity and collaboration, starting by supporting workplaces around the world. Going forward, we are focusing our VR efforts on workplace experiences, learning from and alongside our original customers and partners, and ensuring we provide a platform that enables security, trust and compliance. Over time, we hope to expand the good experience for consumers,” AltspaceVR said in a blogpost.

Grid is a Microsoft product in metadata: the company has a Grid app for Teams and a Grid app for HoloLens.


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