Microsoft’s AltspaceVR went offline on March 10 as users were ripped from their worlds.
You can watch the moment below and see what it was like as Microsoft pulled the plug to shut down the Altspace servers.
Microsoft bought the social VR startup in 2017 after it ran out of money, but the service found a small niche with some creators using its tools for meeting and presentation spaces. Austin “Cause” Caine and Christi Fenison, the duo behind a company called Cause & Christi, have used AltspaceVR for client projects over the years and found it “to be the most ‘professional’ out of the current choices.” The were present for the final moments of AltspaceVR and conveyed the experience in writing and video:
The servers were set to shut down at exactly 1pm ET so we gathered and waited to see exactly what would happen. As the final moment approached, the anticipation grew… and the countdown began. 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… 0… -1… -2… -3… wait a minute… we were all still here? News began to spread that new users could no longer log on. We were essentially the last survivors of a sinking ship, the band that played valiantly until the very end.
For just over five minutes we all reveled in this realization, wondering exactly when the true ending would come, and did our best to enjoy these extra precious moments together. Around 1:07pm ET everyone’s conversations were abruptly cut short as the world froze around us in a Matrix-like fashion. Reports later indicate this was the same experience for everyone. Not long after an official message from the AltspaceVR team popped up, and that was that.
Altspace’s closure was announced in January as executives implemented a wave of cost cutting measures at a number of tech companies. In advance of the shutdown, Microsoft enabled metadata downloads from Altspace worlds but didn’t enable full world downloads.
The closure note reads:
“This is sadly where we say goodbye. We leave you with one wish: take the light we’ve made together and share it with the world.”