The latest round of layoffs at Microsoft, which announced it will cut 10,000 jobs this year, has hit key teams for its VR (virtual reality) and metaverse efforts, according to reports. The company will close two projects in these areas, Altspacevr and the Mixed Reality Tool Kit, potentially affecting the progress of Microsoft in these areas.
Microsoft VR and Metaverse Teams Hit by Layoffs
The latest round of layoffs announced by Microsoft on Jan. 18, has reportedly hit metaverse and VR (virtual reality) initiatives of the company, potentially affecting progress in these areas. Among the 10,000 jobs to be cut this year, representing 5% of Microsoft’s global workforce, teams behind initiatives like Altspacevr and the Mixed Reality Tool Kit are being axed as part of this reorganization process.
Altspacevr, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2017, has already announced it will sunset its platform on March 10. The platform, which was aimed at providing services to facilitate the creation of virtual environments for events with the participation of artists, creators, brands, and businesses, will migrate to Mesh, a more work-focused platform that has integration with Microsoft Teams.
The Mixed Reality Tool Kit, an open-source set of tools to build user interfaces for the metaverse will also ostensibly be abandoned, as there are no announcements of new teams dedicated to its development at the time of writing.
Metaverse and VR Slowdown
While the company justified these layoffs as a measure to align its cost structure with revenue and customer demand, some believe that these localized layoffs in the metaverse and VR sector signal the slowdown of the advancements of the company in this area.
The reported layoffs at Microsoft affect initiatives focused on the consumer metaverse primarily, following the course that Meta has taken by laying off 13% of its workforce, shedding 11,000 jobs.
However, the higher-ups at Microsoft are believers in the metaverse and other disruptive technologies, and the progress these will bring in the future. Recently, Satya Nadella, CEO of the company, stated that the sense of presence that metaverse tech can bring is game-changing.
Microsoft is also involved in the creation of the Global Collaboration Village — the metaverse world of the World Economic Forum (WEF) — and has shown interest in investing in AI (artificial intelligence) projects such as Openai, creators of AI bot Chatgpt.
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