Microsoft switches Metaverse focus from social to business Microsoft switches Metaverse focus from social to business

Microsoft switches Metaverse focus from social to business

Social VR platform AltspaceVR will close in March, with the team switching development to Microsoft Mesh business-orientated products.

Microsoft switches Metaverse focus from social to business

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate. Image includes combined content which may include AI-generated content.

Microsoft-owned social VR platform AltspaceVR will close on March 10, with the team switching focus to the business-orientated Microsoft Mesh (MM) instead.

AltspaceVR to close for the second time

Altspace VR was founded by Facebook Reality Labs Social Experiences’ director of product  Eric Romo in 2013.

Fast forward a few years, the general slowness of the VR market led to the collapse of a funding deal, and the company announced shuttering its operations due to a lack of money. This led to Microsoft swooping in to acquire the struggling firm in 2017 for an undisclosed sum.

At the time, much was said about this being a strategic purchase to compete with Facebook, as the social media giant was gearing up in its bid to develop VR.

However, AltspaceVR is set to close for a second time with a message from the team stating better opportunities lie in the business sector rather than with retail consumers. With that, they still intend to build “immersive experiences in the metaverse,” but for business users under the MM banner. The company said:

“We see the opportunity for VR expanding beyond consumer into business and now have an even greater goal: a more open, accessible, and secure version of immersive experiences in the metaverse.”

It added that existing users and developers should host their final events and download saved content.

Microsoft Mesh

MM launched in Nov. 2021 with the goal to “make collaboration in the ‘metaverse’ personal and fun.”

Riding on the shift to work from home, Microsoft saw an opportunity to bring the real-life office, such as “chance encounters,” facial expressions, and body language, into a virtual world setting.

“They miss hallway moments, kitchen catch-ups and chance encounters. They miss the body language from across the conference room table that says things that can’t be said.”

MM operates as part of the Microsoft Teams business communications platform, which incorporates team collaboration features such as video conferencing and chat. With MM, business users can experience mixed reality applications.

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