Just a few days after Microsoft confirmed that it would be laying off 10,000 employees, the company has decided to sunset its live social virtual world experience platform AltspaceVR. As per the AltspaceVR blog, the platform will be shut down on March 10 and the resources will be directed to the mixed reality platform Microsoft Mesh.
“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,” said the blog. In the ‘near-term’, the company would be focussing virtual reality efforts on workplace experiences and extend it to consumer experience also, the blog noted. Microsoft acquired AltspaceVR in 2017 when it was almost on the verge of closing down permanently.
AltspaceVR’s potential replacement in leading the company’s metaverse ambition — Microsoft Mesh — was first showcased in March 2021. Microsoft Mesh allows users to conduct augmented reality/virtual reality meetings with other users and 3D content.
Not just, AltspaceVR, Microsoft is reportedly rolling back a few other mixed reality projects. As per a January 18 Bloomberg report, Microsoft is planning to reduce its HoloLens goggles business. This comes at the time when the US Congress rejected the US Army’s request for a $400 million fund to buy 6,900 units in the current fiscal year.
Further, as per reports, Microsoft has fired the entire team behind the Mixed Reality Tool Kit (MRTK) framework. It is a cross-platform system for developing spatial anchors in virtual space. MRTK is a set of components, plugins, samples, and documentation for the development of mixed-reality applications. It was also used for HoloLens.
On January 18, Microsoft joined the likes of Twitter, Meta, Amazon, and Google when it announced it will be reducing 5% of its total workforce or 10,000 employees due to economic uncertainty.