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A few days ago, Microsoft announced its intention to cut about 10 thousand people by March 31, 2023. Thanks to social media posts, it becomes clear which teams and departments have been affected by the new wave of layoffs.
The AltSpaceVR platform, which Microsoft acquired in 2017, will be closed on March 10, 2023. The fact is that last week the entire team working on the VR workspace project was fired. The closure of AltSpaceVR will effectively end Microsoft’s “metaverse” efforts. Assumes that Microsoft Mesh will become the successor to AltSpaceVR, but it is not certain that the company as a whole is serious about the idea of ”metaverses”.
In addition, Microsoft completely fired the team responsible for the Mixed Reality Take Kit (MRTK). This is a cross-platform system for creating spatial references in virtual reality. MRTK was built to integrate with Unity VR and supports headsets from Meta*.
The HoloLens team has also shrunk significantly following the departure of lead architect Alex Kipman. Microsoft continues to work on the military version of HoloLens under a contract with the Pentagon, as it does not suit the military in its current form.
It’s entirely possible that Microsoft no longer believes in virtual reality. Many experts in the industry believe that the “metaverse” opens up new opportunities for human-computer interaction, but it is far from a fact that companies are ready to develop this direction.