Microsoft buys AltspaceVR, the leading VR social platform

At an event in San Francisco, Microsoft announced it purchased AltspaceVR and the team that built it. AltspaceVR will join Windows Mixed Reality's growing lineup, along with first-party games such as Halo: Recruit, and the vast library from Valve's SteamVR platform.

In a blog post on Microsoft's website, HoloLens inventor and Operating Systems Group Technical Fellow Alex Kipman outlined the acquisition of AltspaceVR, noting its capabilities for hosting virtual events on the internet:

We also welcomed the talented team at AltspaceVR to Microsoft. AltspaceVR is one of the pioneers in immersive communications bringing people together in virtual reality from over 160 countries to attend meetups, comedy shows, yoga classes, dance parties, and large-scale events hosted by NBC, Reggie Watts, Justin Roiland, Drew Carey and more.With the AltspaceVR team onboard we look forward to building the world's preeminent mixed reality community.

AltspaceVR users can create VR events that take place in a virtual setting.

AltspaceVR users can create VR events that take place in a virtual setting.

This is great news for AltSpace fans, who have seen the future of this social space as somewhat unstable recently. The AltSpace service recently shut down completely due to funding issues, only to re-open a few days later to a great deal of celebration. With Microsoft at the helm, AltSpacers can take a deep breath and enjoy the stability afforded by the new stewards of the platform.

Microsoft is clearly all-in on Mixed Reality, and picking up AltspaceVR is an interesting move, particularly when you consider Microsoft's work with Xbox's updated Avatar system (which looks far better than AltspaceVR's avatars ... and is also based on Unity3D.) Will Xbox avatar game 1 vs. 100) return on Windows Mixed Reality? It will be interesting to watch how these systems converge in the future.

See below for more of today's related announcements.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Now a days they only buys
  • Years ago the Apple fanboys would criticize Microsoft for buying companies, that Microsoft could not create on their own. Now Apple, Google, and every other company buy more than they create. And those companies are brilliant for buying other companies, even through Google/Apple quickly shut those companies down, usually don't integrate the products into their own products. It is praise worthy for eradicating the competition by buying them. But Microsoft still is evil for buying companies. Troll harder.
  • Well, Apple and, Google, actually do create quite consistently, and they make tangible consumer usable products... Which is funny about this, because outside of Windows DESKTOP, and Xbox MS doesn't seems to have the kahunies to face consumers.. VR is a consumer facing market, and they seem interested in that🤔... But, will MS only cater to industry needs when it comes to MR????? Who knows.... I know one thing, every since they announced to drop Groove I'm pissed, and expect them to do something big somewhere, with something, whether it be with Surface, MS, IDK. They owe me!! Lol😂😂😂
  • I have a friend we call Faisal Baba. :) Anyway, to your comment, I hope Microsoft buys Spotify to cool down some of us bummed by Groove streaming being abandoned.
  • Hater always hate...
  • They bought Nokia for $7 billion, buying a company doesn't guarantee commitment.
  • What do you think HMD is? It's part of that $7 billion commitment, just in plan B. It's indirectly a collaboration between Microsoft and Nokia; Remember when MS said they would help the Nokia employees (who were let off), find jobs or even fund a start-up for them? Well, HMD came out of the blue just months later, formed of the Nokia employees of which MS let go of and they (HMD) suddenly had access to Nokia patents as well as Microsoft Lumia patents. You woukd think, that's a lot of trust to put into a start-up, that came out of the blue and has absolutely no reputation. The advantage of this? MS benefits from Android device sales without being directly attached by name and Nokia's get's its foot back in the mobile market ..and if the collaboration that is HMD fails ..neither company gets affected publically. ..but if it succeeds, MS would have made back its "loss" and Nokia will be back in the game and at that point, HMD could very well be purchased back into Nokia Technologies unless Nokia, are content with their collaboration with MS. I forgot to mention, this is just my personal opinion.
  • Microsoft has no association with HMD.
  • Yeah, they do. Every HMD system out has ties to Windows. Valve uses Windows for SteamVR (Linux is available, but not up to snuff), Rift has Minecraft and other UMP apps, and the new gear from Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Acer is all based of MS AR.
  • But they not selling well. They were selling more Lumias then these android bricks. They have user base on Windows. On android they are just small and unimportant OEM.
  • From what I know, they're actually selling more than Lumia by and far, (if not more than Lumias entire sales put together) and that's considering they havent even been released everywhere. ...and I was actually just reading an article today on Forbes about how 2017 is Nokia's success story. Nokia, like Apple, has a cult.. that along with their build quality and cameras, is what differentiates them from all the other Android OEMs. Having a cult is already a big advantage over the competition, especially since most of them skipped Nokias WP devices and wished for them to be on Android.
  • HMD was formed after microsoft sold Nokia Mobile to them after a steep loss of 6.5billion. Its not microsoft. It is a subsidiary of Foxconn.
  • Read my post again ..only thing i forgot to mention was FOXCONN's part in this, which was manufacturing through Nokia plants MS purchased from Nokia. Microsoft did not sell HMD anything ...HMD have a 10 year license to use the Nokia brand and that's through Nokia. The people working at HMD were some of the Nokia employees who got "laid-off." Microsoft had promised to find them jobs or help them set up a start-up ...remind me what HMD is? A start-up ...formed of what? Nokia employees which were "laid-off." What is HMD? A company formed (entirely out of the blue) just to sell Nokia devices.
    After the failure of Nokia/MS Lumia, you would think a start-up would either avoid using the Nokia branding or keep their options open, so they arent locked down to Nokia ..but their tag line says HMD, the home of Nokia devices. I know this is just my opinion but I dont believe it's far fetched considering everything and the benefits for both parties. If my opinion is correct, then I think this was truly a smart move by both parties cuts downs its losses and gains data, while the other gets a second chance at making a comeback. If it fails, HMD will be the face of the failure, not Nokia nor MS. MS stopped producing Lumia, "wrote off" nokia aquisition, promised to find those affected, jobs or help them set up a start-up ...HMD was formed less then a few months they had access to all patents from Nokia and MS Lumia ..less than a year later, this new start-up suddenly has 5 devices in the market and 6th one on the way.
  • Careful before DJCBS shows up
  • ^ 😂
  • I've been wondering if he's one of those who got laid off and that's why he's so bitter
  • This ^!
  • When is Apple releasing their VR headset?  I want something I can trust.
  • Let's see what happens.
  • *waylay=allay
  • I love the sub title... Bring back 1vs100 MS!!!
  • why is microsoft believe in AR in this form? Apple's take, seems to make sense, but connected headsets... idk.
  • So this is why they renamed Beam to Mixer, no doubt this will soon be merged with Mixer. Microsoft plans to use VR to get an edge on Twitch
  • 3D-scan your head with latest Sony android phone, download to VR platform, and look like yourself ;)
  • Altspace were in dire money trouble so they got bought out by MS for next to nothing most likely.