AltspaceVR Shutting Down

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Some unfortunate news in the VR world.  AltspaceVR, one of the leading metaverse platforms, is shutting down on August 3, 2017.  It was easily one of the most successful in the space having raised over $15 million USD for development from 2014-2015.  They also had the benefit of cross-platform support between multiple HMD manufacturers (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream).  We checked it out a few times, and it was regularly the most populated among the metaverse choices.

Their most popular events included comedic performances by Reggie Watts, concerts, special presentations, and an online wedding or two.  According to the AltspaceVR goodbye page, they benefited from 35,000 visitors a month with the average user spending 35 minutes in the environment each day.

What does this mean for social virtual reality?  It would be interesting to learn what worked, what didn't, and why.  Were the early HMD sales overestimated?  Was the nature of the qualified user base more niche than expected?  Was the platform advanced and interesting enough?  Was the media practical for such a thing (were the HMDs suited for long social interactions)?  Did the investors have realistic expectations in the first place?

If we look at any semi-successful MMOG, there is definitely a proof of concept out there for online social communities in virtual spaces.  The catch is you need a viable glue to bind them together and the platform needs to be interesting enough.  AltspaceVR tried some cool stuff, and now the market has the opportunity to learn from it.

Best wishes and good luck to the AltpaceVR team.  They will be having a sign-off party on August 3 before they shut down - be sure to check it out!