VR is still in a weird spot, with the future of many of its tent-poles in flux. One such program is AltspaceVR, a social media service that allows users to gather and watch events in a VR space. The program shut down in July due to lack of interest and no funding, but it will be revived soon now that Microsoft has purchased the community.
Microsoft wishes to keep AltspaceVR in the same state it was. A Microsoft spokesperson is quoted saying “AltspaceVR will stay AltspaceVR. Microsoft is most interested in preserving the current community that uses AltspaceVR to connect and interact with new and old friends. These first few months will focus on fostering our community and making sure AltspaceVR remains a friendly, welcoming and vibrant place to hang out in virtual reality.”
Microsoft continued their statement, promising not to dismantle the AltspaceVR team or gut them for technology. It would make sense that Microsoft would limit AltspaceVR to their own VR service, Hololens, but the team will allow the community to stay on competing services and will add it to future VR headsets as they’re developed. It’s currently unknown exactly how Microsoft’s influence will change AltspaceVR, but if what they’re saying is true, perhaps it won’t change at all, and Microsoft will be hands off and let this team continue to do their own thing.
AltspaceVR had some famous guests in its time, with visits by stand-up comedians like Drew Carey and Reggie Watts, and presidential election events during the 2016 campaign. AltspaceVR had many high profile partners, but that wasn’t enough to keep funding flowing. Now that Microsoft has picked up the bill, perhaps AltspaceVR will keep the lights on and continue to attract celebrities and national entertainment associations. VR might not be the most popular thing on the market, but companies are still committed to see how things shake out.
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