Microsoft last week announced it will lay off 10,000 employees, around 5% of its global workforce. As I reported, it seems the company's HoloLens team will be amongst the worst affected by the job cuts. With Microsoft also recently laying off its entire MRTK team and shutting down AltSpaceVR, it seems the company is shifting its VR/AR and metaverse goals.
In some ways, the decision to cut jobs in HoloLens makes sense as Microsoft is some way out from making a HoloLens 3. The company said recently that it will not make a HoloLens 3 until the time is right. Of course, Microsoft is in the middle of fulfilling a commitment to supply thousands of HoloLens units to the US military.
However, Congress has recently blocked the purchase of 6,900 more IVAS HoloLens units from Microsoft. It also seems the company is shaking up its mixed reality business even more. The company has already cut whole teams that are working on its Mixed Reality Toolkit (MRTK).
If you are unfamiliar with MRTK-Unity, it is a Microsoft toolkit that hosts several features and tools. Developers can access the project to accelerate their Mixed Reality creations built in Unity across platforms.
Furthermore, the company is dropping AltSpaceVR entirely, shutting the service down from March 10, 2023. AltSpaceVR is a virtual reality social network that Microsoft acquired in 2017. While it saw a slight surge during the pandemic, Microsoft has decided to shut it down.
“As we look to the future, we see the opportunity for VR expanding beyond consumer into business and now have an even greater goal: a more open, accessible, and secure version of immersive experiences in the metaverse.” The AltspaceVR team confirms. “To achieve that we have made the difficult decision to sunset the AltspaceVR platform on March 10, 2023, and shift our focus to support immersive experiences powered by Microsoft Mesh.”
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