AltspaceVRSource: AltspaceVR

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will immediately shut down social hubs in AltspaceVR
  • A Microsoft account will be required to use AltspaceVR starting at some point in the coming weeks.
  • The changes are being implemented to reduce the risk of harassment and inappropriate behavior within AltspaceVR.

AltspaceVR is a virtual meeting space that works across several major platforms. It allows people to meet and interact online using avatars, which may sound familiar to those seeing the metaverse pop up in the news. Microsoft, which purchased AltspaceVR in 2017, is making some changes to the platform to reduce the risk of inappropriate behavior and harassment.

Effective immediately, Microsoft will shut down AltspaceVR hosted social hubs, including the News and Entertainment Commons and Campfire. The Safety Bubble feature for AltspaceVR will now be on by default. Additionally, new attendees to events in the VR platform will be automatically muted.

Social hubs in AltspaceVR were meant to bring people together within virtual reality. Unfortunately, some used the hubs to harass others.

"As platforms like AltspaceVR evolve, it is important that we look at existing experiences and evaluate whether they're adequately serving the needs of customers today and in the future," said Microsoft's Alex Kipman. "This includes helping people better connect with those who have shared common interests while also ensuring the spaces they access are safe from inappropriate behavior and harassment."

A Microsoft account will also be required to use AltspaceVR at some point in the coming weeks. Microsoft requires an account for other services, such as Xbox and Windows. By requiring a Microsoft account in AltspaceVR, the company can integrate the VR platform with Microsoft Family Safety features, such as parents being able to limit access to certain types of content.

Microsoft also plans to increase moderation within AltspaceVR and to improve the platform's content rating system.