What is left of the Altspace social VR group will all work at Microsoft. But its CEO and cofounder, Eric Romo, is currently a product director at Facebook.
The team at AltspaceVR have joined Microsoft.
Alex Kipman, Microsoft’s inventor of HoloLens, said, “With the AltspaceVR team aboard we look forward to building the world’s preeminent mixed reality community.”
A Microsoft spokesman said, “AltspaceVR will stay AltspaceVR. Microsoft is most interested in preserving the current community that uses AltspaceVR to connect and interact with new and old friends. These first few months will focus on fostering our community and making sure AltspaceVR remains a friendly, welcoming and vibrant place to hang out in virtual reality.”
Altspace came up short on cash a year ago after it was not able raise extra supports to drive the early trend-setter in social VR, at that point had an amazing return after it found help. The organization had built up a cross platform social service that included first-of-its-kind highlights, similar to Slack integration allowing groups to rapidly set up a private room in VR where they could get together and examine ideas.
A post by Eric Romo explained some of his thinking as he moved on:
“It wasn’t an easy decision, but I left AltspaceVR with confidence that the team is well-placed to continue pushing forward the promise of virtual communication as part of the Microsoft mixed reality ecosystem. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do next, and wish them all the best. I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to continue exploring how VR can help communities connect as a part of the Facebook team. I’m also grateful I’ll be able to keep my family’s roots here in the SF Bay Area, which was a big priority for me. I’ve been inspired by Facebook’s commitment to VR and I’m motivated by how much there is yet to do.”
Microsoft has no such strategy to kill off the AltspaceVR or to discontinue using it on rival VR platforms. “AltspaceVR will continue to work on PC and Mac in 2D mode, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Daydream by Google, and Samsung Gear VR,” says a Microsoft spokesperson.