Reflections on the sunset of AltspaceVR
AltspaceVR was a virtual reality platform that allowed users to socialise, collaborate, and create content through 3D avatars. The platform provided an immersive environment for people to explore their creativity and connect with others worldwide. Microsoft announced they will “sunset” the AltspaceVR platform on March 10, 2023, focusing on developing Microsoft Mesh as a Metaverse platform.
“The decision has not been an easy one as this is a platform many have come to love, providing a place for people to explore their identities, express themselves, and find community. It has been a privilege to help unlock passions among users, from educational opportunities for personal growth to the development of unique and wonderful events, groundbreaking art, and immersive experiences — enabling this community to achieve more. With Mesh, we aspire to build a platform that offers the widest opportunity to all involved, including creators, partners and customers.”AltspaceVr Statement
AltspaceVR was a virtual reality platform founded in 2013 by Eric Romo. The company’s mission was to recreate the physical world online, providing users with an immersive experience allowing them to interact with others around the globe. Initially, AltspaceVR provided features like shared worlds and events, which enabled people to socialise and collaborate in new ways. Over time, they added more features, such as user-generated content creation tools and 3D avatars, that allowed for even greater personalisation.
The closure of AltspaceVR has impacted the virtual reality industry at large due to its status as an innovator within this space. With it gone, others have been left to fill the void in terms of providing users with an immersive social experience online. Notably, Meta’s Horizon Worlds will look to capitalise on the closure and grow its user base for its own social Metaverse. Meanwhile, Mesh looks to become Microsoft’s primary platform and could combine metanomics and business opportunities not explored in AltspaceVR.
Where the platform succeeded was with user-generated content. Many AltspaceVR developers will look for a Unity-compatible platform to migrate to, with VRChat among the platforms attracting much interest from world builders. One of the biggest impacts of Altspacevr closing is how it changed people’s perception of the Metaverse itself; initially viewed as something exciting and revolutionary, the Metaverse has quickly become associated with failure, which could potentially dissuade future entrepreneurs from entering this field.