At a time when companies are amping up their game in the space of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), Microsoft is shutting down AltspaceVR, a social virtual reality platform that the Redmond-based tech giant acquired a few years ago.
The announcement regarding the shutdown of AltspaceVR comes just days after Microsoft announced that it plans to cut around 10,000 people from its workspace. The company says that the move will shift focus “to support immersive experiences powered by Microsoft Mesh.”
Microsoft said, “We look forward to what is to come, including our launch of Microsoft Mesh, a new platform for connection and collaboration, starting by enabling workplaces around the world. In the near term, we are focusing our VR efforts on workplace experiences, learning from and alongside our early customers and partners, and ensuring we deliver a foundation that enables security, trust and compliance. Over time, we hope to extend to consumer experience[s] a[s] well.”
AltspaceVR was among the first social VR experiences, along with platforms like VRChat and Rec Room. The startup was nearly shut down around 2017 but was acquired by Microsoft as a part of the company’s efforts to build its own mixed reality ecosystem. Before the platform shuts down, the company allows users to download their data.
As per the reports, Microsoft is cutting the entire AltspaceVR team as part of the reorganization and is also reducing the headcount of its HoloLens team. It appears that the company is scaling back mixed reality ambitions and is focusing more on the hardware side of the business.