Social VR Platform AltspaceVR Is Back

Better late than never.

After an amazing run, Social VR pioneer AltspaceVR closed its doors earlier this month due to unforeseen financial difficulty. It was a sad day for many within the community, all hoping it wouldn’t come to an end. Hoping a solution would appear in the days leading up to its closure.

AltspaceVR said its last farewell on August 3rd at 7pm PDT. But now it looks like Altspace VR is back!

In a message AltspaceVR sent out to their community late Tuesday,  the company announced that they will be living on. “AltspaceVR is not closing down. Thank you for fostering a wonderful place for people to meet, hang out, play games, attend meetups, get married, and above all, laugh.”

According to the email, the company said that they’ll “be working to pump some life into AltspaceVR over the next few weeks and in the meantime, fill it with your shining avatar faces, catch up with friends, and meet new people from all around this wonderful world of ours.”

This is all great news for the social VR platform that built a tightly woven community of social interaction and wildly popular events from the likes of Bill Nye and Al Roker. As we wait to hear more details from AltspaceVR in bringing the platform back, why not pop your avatar face in and send a cheery hello.

Here’s a look back at some of the best memories and moments that took place in AltspaceVR, something we can all look forward to once again.

Reggie Watts’ Live Stand Up Comedy

There’s no way this list would be complete without mention of the artist and comedian’s first appearance in Altspace that broke records…and the Altspace server. Watt’s stand-up comedy routine was a massive hit with the crowd, and despite the glitch in technology due to high demand, the team was thrilled with the incredible turnout of over 1400 people. “We all shouted and screamed and celebrated and hugged. People were popping champagne,” said Katie Kelly, Altspace Marketing Manager.

LGBT Meetups

The LGBT meetups created in Altspace were a success from the get go, with people from all over the world coming together in VR to share their stories and listen to others’. Some even risked their freedom to be a part of the group experience; there were users from five different countries in which being gay is still considered a crime. Altspace had a wildly diverse user base, and the LGBT meetups provided a space for users to come together in a friendly, safe environment. “There was really a home for everybody,” said Altspace Community Organizer Lisa Kotecki.

A Family Bonded by Altspace

This heartwarming story is a clear favorite for the Altspace team—but the general community never even heard about it. “It was a beautiful thing that happened that we never really talked about,” said Kelly.

Kelly bonded with Canadian aid worker Chris Duigud—known in Altspace as Mef— over shared experiences in Bangladesh. As they grew closer, she learned that a terrorist attack in the region forced Chris’ wife and kids to move back to Ottawa, leaving Chris behind. Driven to and from work in an armored van and essentially cut off from all social interaction, Chris built a computer from scratch and joined the Altspace family.

The team realized how much Altspace meant to Chris, and vice versa, and took action. They flew up to Ottawa and gifted the family their very own Gear VR headsets that they used to join their father in Altspace for the first time. Kelly remembers tearing up as Duigud’s daughter entered Altspace and recognized her father. “Things went right, things went wrong, tech worked and tech didn’t,” said Kelly “but it almost didn’t matter.”

Democracy Plaza

“The election coverage with NBC, specifically on election night, was sort of a pivotal moment in VR because it was a polarized election, but people came together on both sides to have these civil conversations,” said Kotecki. With an appearance from American’s weatherman Al Roker, a Q&A session with political expert Steve Kornacki, and a panel from “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, the ongoing Democracy Plaza team up with NBC created some of Altspace’s most popular and star-studded events.

The Rainbow Room

The rainbow room, created by Altspace user Fae, quickly became one of the most popular activities in Altspace. The room—which, as one would guess, was covered in rainbows, as well as shaggy rugs, a disco ball, and Abba posters—was a space where users could get together for karaoke and a celebration of classic rock. Fae was among the number of female developers who saw their apps and creations on Altspace gain a lot of popularity over time. “It was really great to see a handful of female developers stand up and shine,” said Kotecki.

About the Scout

Presley West

Emory University student, VRScout Writer, Storyteller, and Amateur Dog Walker.

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