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Popular virtual reality social app AltspaceVR closes today

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AltspaceVR (opens in new tab), the biggest social virtual reality app for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, will close today. The developers posted a farewell letter (opens in new tab) late last week explaining that "the company has run into unforeseen financial difficulty" and can't keep the service online after today.

"We had a supportive group of investors that last gave us money in 2015," wrote AltspaceVR. "It looked like we had a deal for our next round of funding, and it fell through. Some combination of this deal falling through and the general slowness of VR market growth made most of our investors reluctant to fund us further. We’ve been out fundraising but have run out of time and money."

The lack of money is not for lack of players, according to the company, which says it brings in "around 35,000" monthly users, with a thousand attendees showing up for big events.

The future of AltspaceVR is now uncertain. "We’d love to see this technology, if not the company, live on in some way, and we’re working on that," reads the blog post. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey suggested on Twitter (opens in new tab) that he may be able to save the game, and received a response (opens in new tab) from an Altspace co-founder, but neither has said more about any attempt at resurrection.

The developer is hosting a farewell party in the game at 5 pm Pacific today before the servers shut down. It's a sad loss, as many including myself believe that VR is best used as a tool for socialization.

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.