Microsoft acquires AltspaceVR to bolster their VR positioning.
In July AltspaceVR announced that it was closing its doors, stating that a funding deal fell through at the last minute. The following month, the company would go on to release the following statement “We are now in discussions with third parties to develop a sustainable solution to continue development and growth for the future,” Well it looks like we may now have an idea of who one of those third parties were as Microsoft has acquired the popular Social VR platform.
Announced at Microsoft’s Mixed Reality event in San Francisco Tuesday, Microsoft’s mixed reality lead Alex Kipman, went on to call Altspace “a pioneer in social mixed reality.
AltspaceVR CEO Eric Romo said Tuesday that the company will continue to embrace the many platforms Altspace currently caters to and it unclear how the AltspaceVR brand and apps will continue under the Microsoft umbrella.
When AltspaceVR was announced as shutting down in July and official "closed" in August it was met with much sadness in the community.
Though the terms of the acquisition by Microsoft has not been fully revealed and it is unknown of the status of the many employees of AltspaceVR this is a good sign for them. This is also a sign Microsoft wants to take on Facebook in the Social VR plane.
Update: After posting the AltspaceVR team reached out with a quote from AltspaceVR CEO Eric Romo as well as some answers to pending questions about the acquisition.
Quote from Eric:
"When we announced our closing, a common sentiment was that we were pioneers, if not ahead of our time. People were sad that they wouldn't be able to see what we could have built together with our community. I'm grateful that we get a chance to follow through on the story we started five years ago and see how much farther we can take this technology."
What events lead up to Microsoft's acquisition of AltspaceVR?
AltspaceVR announced their closure back in August. Many members of the AltspaceVR team worked hard in the following days and weeks to make sure the technology lived on. They connected with Alex Kipman and found a natural overlap between his goals for mixed reality and their hopes for the future of AltspaceVR.
Why did Microsoft acquire AltspaceVR?
Microsoft is excited to incorporate communications technology into our mixed reality ecosystem. Today’s social experiences can be one sided: text, photos, and videos are posted by a single person, to be consumed by others later. But AltspaceVR takes social networks, combines them with real-time experiences, and leverages immersive presence to transcend beyond sharing posts to sharing situations. Situations of people, places, and things have deeper meaning and in turn, are more memorable. We’re excited to see how far this technology can go.
What about AltspaceVR the company?
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.
What about AltspaceVR users?
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for AltspaceVR users and their team. The team will be spending a lot of the next few weeks talking to the AltspaceVR community and finding out how they can build an even better place to hang out in virtual reality. Their new partnership with Microsoft will be an adrenaline shot for AltspaceVR and they hope to bring new events, features and activities for their community to enjoy soon.
Will AltspaceVR stay cross-platform?
Yes. AltspaceVR will continue to work on PC and Mac in 2D mode, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Daydream by Google, and Samsung Gear VR.
What does this mean for the AltspaceVR community?
AltspaceVR will stay AltspaceVR. Microsoft is committed to being the best place in VR to hang out with a diverse community of people.
Will AltspaceVR work on HoloLens?
The team is excited to see how AltspaceVR can be a part of Microsoft’s MR ecosystem but there aren’t plans to bring AltspaceVR to HoloLens now.