Microsoft just bought AltspaceVR to take on Facebook’s social virtual reality

The shared social world is now a part of Microsoft
Microsoft makes a big social VR play
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AltspaceVR, the beloved social virtual reality platform, announced earlier this year that it was shutting down due to financial difficulties. It later confirmed that unknown parties had stepped in to try and keep it alive, and now we know what's happening: Microsoft is buying it.

At its October Mixed Reality event in San Francisco, Microsoft announced it was acquiring AltspaceVR, signaling that the company is serious about going up against rival Facebook and Oculus.

Read this: VR is set to be lonely if we don't get social right

In AltspaceVR, people come together from around the world to share one virtual world, partaking in everything from dance parties to stand-up comedy shows. With social VR content still lacking, Altspace has provided something different in the VR space.

On a blog post on its website, Altspace says the company will remain the same company. Microsoft is more interested in preserving the current community, the company says. Similarly, Altspace will remain cross platform, and will still work on PC and Mac (in 2D mode) as well as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR.

Facebook, of course, also sees the value in social VR, and has its own platform, Facebook Spaces. Similarly, users can create 3D avatars and hang out in virtual worlds, playing games and taking VR selfies.

Microsoft also revealed the final member of the Mixed Reality headset family to be available this year, the Samsung Odyssey, which goes on sale 6 November for $499.

Microsoft just bought AltspaceVR to take on Facebook's social virtual reality