Microsoft improves personal boundaries in AltspaceVR

It became known that Microsoft has decided to make several important changes to AltspaceVR at once in order to combat harassment in this virtual reality application. And if you’re not aware, the tech giant removed the Campfire, News, and Entertainment Commons social spaces some time ago. At their core, these were ordinary centers where AltspaceVR users could freely gather and communicate with each other. However, the freedom afforded in these spaces also meant that stalking and some semblance of harassment was a constant problem.

This is why the AltspaceVR security feature is now enabled by default for all users. It, in turn, creates a barrier that prevents other people from entering your avatar’s personal space. The other but equally important change is that, according to Microsoft, the app will automatically mute new attendees when they join an event for the first time. This was done with the aim of first “checking” the person behind the avatar for toxicity. The company also promised to strengthen moderation as well as improve event content ratings to further complement these changes. It is also important to note that the corporation recently announced that people will need to use a Microsoft account to access AltspaceVR.

As a result of this requirement, parents will be able to use the company’s family safety feature to limit the amount of time their children can spend on the app. “As platforms like AltspaceVR evolve, it’s important that we analyze existing experiences and evaluate whether they adequately meet customer needs today and in the future. These efforts include helping people better connect with those who have common interests, as well as keeping the spaces they have access safe from inappropriate behavior and harassment,” said Alex Kipman, head of Microsoft’s mixed reality division.

It is important to note that these changes come as many other VR platforms similarly begin to grapple with existing harassment issues. Earlier this month, Meta Corporation, for example, released a new feature called Personal Boundary to Horizon Worlds. Similar to the AltspaceVR security bubble, this feature is designed to prevent people from entering your personal space. More broadly, the changes indicate that Microsoft intends to work on some version of the Metaverse, despite recent reports that the company’s mixed reality division has lost a significant number of employees to competitors like Meta.

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