Developer program Microsoft announced on the 26th of January that it is discontinuing its virtual world platform, Microsoft Metaverse, which was intended to serve as a platform for developers to create a variety of virtual worlds.
The program, which was launched in early 2020, was part of the company’s larger effort to allow developers to build creative and interactive experiences for customers. Since its introduction, Metaverse has become the foundation for dozens of virtual worlds, from social experiences to educational games. However, the program has been unable to gain enough traction from other developers, causing Microsoft to decide to discontinue its investment. The decision comes at a time when virtual worlds have become increasingly popular, with many emerging platforms such as Facebook’s Oculus, Google’s Stadia, and Apple’s ARKit gaining traction. For Microsoft, the decision was likely an attempt to focus its resources on existing products and services that have more potential for growth. The company said it remains committed to the idea of a virtual world platform but is shifting its strategy to focus on developing new augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) solutions. Microsoft has been actively investing in the development of these solutions since 2019.
In a statement, Microsoft said, “We remain optimistic about the potential of a metaverse, but we’ve determined that our current investment does not align with our longer-term vision for AR/MR. We want to thank all of the developers who created fantastic experiences on Metaverse and support the continued effort to explore the potential of virtual worlds.”
The decision to discontinue the program was an unsurprising one, given the fact that Microsoft has been focusing its efforts on the development of more immersive and innovative technologies. It appears that the ambitious vision of a virtual world platform has been relegated to the back burner for now, in favour of augmenting and innovating on its existing products.
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