Microsoft Layoffs Reportedly Hit Key VR and Metaverse Teams

According to sources, key groups for Microsoft’s virtual reality (VR) initiatives and the metaverse have been affected by the most recent round of layoffs. Microsoft has indicated it will eliminate 10,000 jobs this year. Microsoft’s development in these areas may be hampered by the company’s decision to discontinue two related initiatives, Altspacevr and the Mixed Reality Tool Kit.

The company’s metaverse VR programs have reportedly been affected by the most recent wave of layoffs, which Microsoft announced on January 18. This could impede advancement in these areas. Teams responsible for projects like AltspaceVR and the Mixed Reality Tool Kit are among the 10,000 jobs that will be lost this year. 

Microsoft purchased Altspacevr in 2017, and the company has previously stated that its platform will be discontinued on March 10. The platform will transition to Mesh, a more work-focused system with interaction with Microsoft Teams, from its original goal of offering services to assist the construction of virtual worlds for events with the involvement of artists, producers, brands, and businesses. 

Since there have been no announcements of new teams tasked with its development as of the time of writing, the Mixed Reality Tool Kit, an open-source collection of tools to create user interfaces for the metaverse, will likewise ostensibly be abandoned.

Layoffs Since November:

1. Ford: 3,200 employees

2. Amazon: 18,000 employees

3. Wayfair: 10% of employees

4. Goldman Sachs: 3,000 employees

5. Twitter: 7,700 employees

6. Peloton: 12% of employees

7. Microsoft: 10,000 employees

Layoffs are beginning to spread beyond tech.

— The Kobeissi Letter (@KobeissiLetter) January 23, 2023

Metaverse and VR Slowdown

The alleged layoffs at Microsoft reportedly affect projects focused on the consumer’s metaverse, following the path that Meta has taken by eliminating 11,000 employees and 13% of its workforce. 

Microsoft management, on the other hand, is a firm believer in the metaverse, other disruptive technologies, and the advancement they will bring about in the future. Microsoft has also expressed interest in funding AI like Openai, the company behind Chatgpt, and is a partner in developing the Global Collaboration Village.

Microsoft is investing billions of dollars into OpenAI, not a week after announcing thousands of layoffs. https://t.co/MXfD7L7VJK

— Jez (@JezCorden) January 23, 2023

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