AltspaceVR, a social VR platform that was due to close earlier this year due to lack of investment, now has a new owner. Microsoft has come to the rescue by acquiring the company.
The acquisition happened after the two companies met following AltspaceVR’s closure announcement. The overlap between the social VR platform and Microsoft’s own goals in its Mixed Reality programme. AltspaceVR will remain independent in its name and will still be working across multiple platforms as it previously has, but will include Microsoft communication software in future and Microsoft will now be handling all user accounts.
In an FAQ provided by AltspaceVR, the company said, "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."
With the move, AltspaceVR will continue to focus on building and sustaining its community. "When we announced our closing, a common sentiment was that we were pioneers, if not ahead of our time," said CEO and founder, Eric Romo. "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."
There were rumours that the company could have been acquired by former Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. The rumour was spurred on by Luckey’s own public poll on Twitter on if he should intervene.