Microsoft shuts down industrial metaverse team after social VR platform discontinuation announcement


  • Microsoft’s Industrial Metaverse Core team started in October 2022
  • The team, known internally as Project Bonsai, is closing after four months
  • Microsoft’s social virtual reality platform AltspaceVR is also being shut down

Tech giant Microsoft has closed its Industrial Metaverse Core team, a four-month initiative formed to help customers use the metaverse in industrial environments.

Known internally as Project Bonsai, Microsoft’s Industrial Metaverse Core team, started in October 2022, has officially been discontinued, The Information reported, citing “a person with direct knowledge of the matter” as the source of the information.

The team was working on how to use artificial intelligence and digital technologies to enable interaction between users using assets, locations, physical goods equipment, and streamlined processes.

Microsoft also laid off about 100 employees working on the project as part of its company-wide plan to lay off 10,000 employees, CEO Satya Nadella shared earlier this month.

The tech giant’s recent move was supposedly due to a shift in its priorities. Microsoft now wants to focus on short-term projects instead of those that require more time to generate revenue.

Microsoft’s Industrial Metaverse Core team has already secured several major customers in the industrial metaverse space, including Coca-Cola and Mercedes Benz. Despite this, the project was terminated. However, Microsoft said it remains committed and has assured customers that there will be no changes to how the company supports them.

“Microsoft remains committed to the industrial metaverse. We are applying our focus on the areas of the industrial metaverse that matter most to our customers and they will not see any change in how they receive support. We look forward to sharing additional information in the future,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. tech giant.

Ahead of the news about the discontinuation of Microsoft’s Industrial Metaverse Core team, social virtual reality platform AltspaceVR, the company acquired by the Redmond-based tech giant, announced that it will be shutting down on March 10.

“As we look to the future, we see the opportunity for VR to expand beyond consumer to business, and we now have an even bigger goal: a more open, accessible, and secure version of immersive experiences in the metaverse,” read the announcement for AltspaceVR.

“To achieve this, we’ve made the difficult decision to end the AltspaceVR platform on March 10, 2023 and shift our focus to supporting immersive experiences with Microsoft Mesh,” the announcement added.

Big names across multiple industries have dipped their toes into the metaverse, an industry valued at $100.27 billion in 2022 and projected to grow exponentially to $1,527.55 billion by 2029.

The metaverse is an immersive online 3D space where users interact with each other and computer-generated avatars and objects with the help of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) devices.

While the industry is still in its infancy, giants Amazon, Alphabet and Meta (formerly Facebook), NVIDIA and Apple, among many others, have invested heavily in building their own metaverse platforms.

A Microsoft logo is seen in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris

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