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Microsoft puts the brakes on virtual reality and relies entirely on AI technology

Long faces among VR developers: Microsoft is shutting down a relatively popular platform and cutting back on other projects.Screenshot: Twitter

HoloLens and virtual reality and mixed reality are “dead” in the Windows suite, comments a well-known tech blog. Meanwhile, the ChatGPT developer company has reported a fresh infusion of cash from Redmond.

01/23/2023, 19:1001/23/2023, 20:50

Daniel Shorter
Daniel Shorter

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called the Metaverse “the next wave of the internet” in January 2022. But just a year later, that wave seems to be settling down for a bit.

Early last week, Microsoft announced that it would lay off about 10,000 employees — about five percent of the workforce — by the end of March. CEO Nadella did not want to provide any information about which areas were specifically affected by the layoffs.

We now know that the range of hardware products is being reduced and that the fields of Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality are being significantly curtailed. Many teams, including hardware developers and game studios, are affected by the actions taken.

AltspaceVR will close

He comments that Microsoft is rearranging its bets on the company’s future Techblog Windows Central. Last week, the entire team behind virtual reality platform AltSpaceVR was fired.

Previously, those responsible via TwitterThe platform will be closed on March 10th.

Avatars in AltSpaceVR: Maybe

Avatars in AltSpaceVR: The virtual environment can be “entered” using the usual VR headset.

The AltSpaceVR platform launched in 2013 before the first big virtual reality hype and was long considered the leading app for “social VR” before it ran into financial difficulties in 2017 and was bought by Microsoft.

Microsoft Mesh It should be the successor to AltSpaceVR, but it remains to be seen how serious the company is with its so-called “Metaverse.”

Microsoft Mesh is an infrastructure platform for connecting VR and AR devices to PCs. Nadella says the company is focusing on software so that all users can benefit, no matter what device they’re on.

development team Mixed Reality Toolkit (MRTK)an open source developer interface for AR and VR headsets released by Microsoft.

Windows Central comments:

“For Microsoft to fire the entire team behind MRTK, which isn’t due to release a new version until next month, paints a picture of a company that may no longer believe in virtual reality.”

As a reminder, Mark Zuckerberg, who renamed his Facebook group Meta in belief in virtual reality technology, announced massive cutbacks last November and laid off 11,000 employees.

What about ChatGPT?

Artificial intelligence development company OpenAI (ChatGPT) and Microsoft on Monday announced an expansion of their partnership. Accordingly, the Windows Group is investing several billion dollars to “accelerate AI breakthroughs and ensure these benefits are shared around the world.”

Specifically, Microsoft should invest more in the development and use of supercomputing systems to support OpenAI research. Additionally, Microsoft with its Azure platform as an exclusive cloud partner benefits from the high interest in ChatGPT and Co.

Microsoft plans to integrate OpenAI's artificial intelligence technology into its own products, such as Office software.  On the other hand, hardware development is slowing down.

Microsoft plans to integrate OpenAI’s artificial intelligence technology into its own products, such as Office software. On the other hand, hardware development is slowing down.Memes: Twitter

And Hololin?

According to a Bloomberg report, Microsoft wants to stop working on US Army Hololens Variant (IVAS) To reduce. The extent of austerity measures is not known.

Hololens was developed by Microsoft for military purposes, called IVAS (Integrated Optical Augmentation System).

Hololens are mixed reality glasses that enable 3D projections in the real environment. It works without a smartphone or PC and has been tested by the US military. Screenshot: Microsoft

Recently, the US Congress canceled a contract worth 400 million dollars for the purchase of a combat headset due to technical and ergonomic problems on the part of users.

The total contract value for Military Hololens is up to $22 billion over a 10-year period. But Microsoft’s VR technology has not yet met the needs of soldiers. Among other things, they complained of eye pain and headaches.

Just like the military HoloLens, the commercial alternative also appears to be in limbo, according to observers. Hololens co-creator Alex Kipman left Microsoft in 2022 after more than 21 years with the company.

It is said that numerous leaks about the departure will not shed a good light on the state of the Hololens team. High-level employees have moved to Meta and Google.

Recently, there have been rumors that Microsoft does not have a significant roadmap for the device. So a possible collaboration with Samsung should be off the table.


AR, VR, Mixed Reality and Metaverse – Terms explained


AR, VR, Mixed Reality and Metaverse – Terms explained

Source: Keystone / Kamran Jabrili

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