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AltspaceVR shuts down

AltspaceVR, a social media platform for virtual reality headsets, announced that they will officially be shutting down its services on August 3, according to a blog post from AltspaceVR Inc.

“The company has run into unforeseen financial difficulty and we can’t afford to keep the virtual lights on anymore. This is surprising, disappointing, and frustrating for every one of us who have put our passion and our hopes into AltspaceVR. We know it will probably feel similarly for you,” it said in the blog post about the decision to shut down AltspaceVR.

The platform had around 35,000 users per month, which they believe is a decent size for the way VR currently is according to the blog post. It was available on the Google Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and on Samsung Gear VR. Users could meet with each other and communicate all through Altspace VR, along with special live events Altspace VR Inc. has held for its users.

Several celebrity guests were featured on the platform for some of these live events. This includes Al Roker of the Today Show, singer Reggie Watts, Drew Carey of The Price Is Right, Justin Roiland of Rick and Morty and more according to this highlight reel for AltspaceVR. One of the most recent celebrity guests was Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and David Freeman, the Editorial Director of NBC News MACH. It also held podcasts, games of Dungeons and Dragons, comedy shows, movie watchings, etc. all on a virtual reality headset.

Some of its social features included being able to browse the internet and share a page you are looking at to a giant screen which your friends can see. YouTube videos and Twitch streams could also be played on this screen, according to this trailer for AltspaceVR. Users can play numerous games built for AltspaceVR, and developers had the option to create their own AltspaceVR game using web code (this includes Dungeons and Dragons). Another feature of AltspaceVR was that users could take photos of their avatar in VR, save and share it to your friends.

AltspaceVR Inc. revealed the main reason for shutting down was due to the lack of money.

“We’re a venture-backed startup. We had a supportive group of investors that last gave us money in 2015. It looked like we had a deal for our next round of funding, and it fell through. Some combination of this deal falling through and the general slowness of VR market growth made most of our investors reluctant to fund us further. We’ve been out fundraising but have run out of time and money,” it said in the blog post.

It seemed that this AltspaceVR had a lot of potential in the slowly but surely growing VR industry. AltspaceVR Inc. said that they don’t know what the future is for the company, but a lot of its staff created amazing projects for VR and they plan to focus on that for now. It’s unfortunate to see such a promising social media platform for VR shut down, and hopefully its developers will be able to create more VR projects in the future.

“We are all humbled by what you made of this virtual oasis. Thank you for spending your time building, hosting, and making the best community we could have wished for. Please take the next week to make sure those connections live on past AltspaceVR. Because if you do, then what we built will really live on,” it said in the blog post.

AltspaceVR encourages users and developers to connect to each other in a different way before it shuts down on August 3. Photos and friend lists from AltspaceVR can be saved on the social media platform before the shut down, in case they may want to transfer them.

Featured image via Flickr/BagoGames.

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