You wouldn’t need access to the admin statistics panel to know there has been a dip in users over recent weeks. Many people are asking about VRChat and alternatives, especially on the AltspaceVR Pal’s Facebook Group. Added to the recent announcement regarding FaceBook & Meta to the more recent announcing Horizon was opening up to the US, it’s easy to see why this is a discussed topic.

First of all, I have yet to try FaceBook/Meta’s Horizon platform, and I am anticipating joining and trying it out as a user of the metaverse. Over the last few months, I have spoken to a few users, including MRE developers, skilled world builders, and some professionals who have previously run enterprise-level events on VR on Altspace and other platforms. I sought out opinions from people who have been around longer than I have in the VR because they have also seen the highs and lows of AltspaceVR and can offer different perspectives.

AltspaceVR VS VRChat

These two posts are from the AltspaceVR Pals Facebook group which is a fantastic group for being part of the general community outside of the platform. You will also find plenty of opinions regarding the current affairs in Altspace. I have snapped two posts that describe the common arguments for and against VRChat/AltspaceVR from a platform standpoint.

I did go into VRChat for about two sessions before I found AltspaceVR and it was a relief, there was so much craziness in the main lobby and all these weird avatars genuinely made me feel uncomfortable. But I also felt VRChat is going headfirst into the craziness of the internet as if 4chan was running the metaverse. It was a relief logging into AltspaceVR and seeing consistent avatars for the most part.

It’s true that VRChat is a lot bigger, their active Discord user base surpassed the 800~ online users on AltspaceVR’s Discord. VRChat has been around since 2014. “There are literally tens of thousands of people in VRChat at any given time” – VRChat’s community manager VRPill.

So if platform size = “a better platform” VRChat wins by a mile but even with the ability to customise avatars, choose from a range, create private instances of any template, better graphics, better rendering capabilities that VRChat has over AltspaceVR, we need to dive into why people still use Altspace and spend the majority of their time in Altspace.

Aknowledging that respected builders & creators have left AltspaceVR this year

Although the talent pool is growing and plenty of users are mastering Unity skills at a faster pace, there has been a great pool of talented users leave Altspace this year and it’s a factor in why there has been a drop in users.

The main reasons people have left can be put down into the following dot points.

  • Users feel that they aren’t listened to
  • Users feel that the update ruined Altspace and the recent fiasco with Synty related kits disappearing for a few weeks due to a knee-jerk reaction that did further harm and good after a stressful update period.
  • Users generally feel they were constantly messed around with URP update being postponed multiple times as reported on this site.
  • Altspace’s lack of new features and updates to build itself closer to similar features offered on other platforms this year has frustrated many collectively.
  • Lack of support from staff where there aren’t enough time with staff, lack of official meetups and official dialouges with developers.

AltspaceVR VS FaceBook’s Horizon Platform

“We support up to 16 people in VR together, and up to 50 people total on a call, including video participants.”

Considering AltspaceVR allows up to 30-50 users in the same room with the ability to coordinate with AltspaceVR for larger event-caps you can fit a lot more people in one room making a room more accessible. The problem being we are accustomed to being able to have 50 users in a room. I have heard specifically in FaceBook Horizon Worlds (not workrooms) caps at 8 users max in a room. I wasn’t able to verify the max limit by Google search.

But best-case scenario assuming the cap was 16 in a space it is still a low cap of users on a room. Considering other platforms including VRChat offer higher room caps. I also witnessed the Microsoft mesh announcement where there were no room caps on the after-party and did a test of seeing how much the servers could take while offering fallback rooms. The main lobby was nuts and I think I saw easily a few hundred people in one room at one point as they piled in.

AltspaceVR is still miles ahead of Horizon Worlds

The Microsoft Mesh demo earlier this year proved that they can support 50 users in a world utilising holographic technology and seamless scene changes. It was basically like world-hopping without the loading screen and this concept and ability go beyond the loading screens you encounter on other platforms. I suspect that the whole reason we had to migrate to URP when we did was to ensure future compatibility with this technology. It is hard to say if this would be rolled out on AltspaceVR or remain an experimental prototype and us as a test user base.

AltspaceVR allows for easy custom world building using the Unity tools which is consistent with VRChat for the most part. Although VRChat allows for some limited scripting capability more easily than Altspace’s MRE solution and Horizon worlds also having easy to access in-game scripting abilities there are still some things that AltspaceVR does in my humble opinion better than any other platform.


I went into Venues and Bigscreen and I prefer an AltspaceVR event any day, the ability to go to a private world or take a break from the event without leaving the app is great. Altspace in many respects does events better than any other VR platform from the ease of setup to basic event management tools that may be limited, still covers the essentials including stage blockers and host zones.

I find the freedom to host an event at any time that anyone can do leads to some interesting conversations and many friendships being made. I feel that the opportunity to do events and get seen has never been more feasible for anyone to achieve as a first-time startup. If you have an interesting event title, description and host it at the right time of day you can max out a 50 slot room. I feel that the opportunity for anyone to be able to grab the attention of that many people at once is amazing and powerful and totally something underestimated.


Although there are limitations with avatars some people including myself prefer avatars that are consistent enough that you can anticipate that there aren’t going to be 12 foot high avatars when you go into a public room. I also think the feature being lacking in Altspace has made the community become a mature community base with less childish behaviours. When I am on VRChat I feel like my maturity drops down to a teenager.

Unity made worlds

Unity3D made worlds isn’t supported yet by Horizon worlds and the ability to do so is something that AltspaceVR will always have over Horizons especially considering they don’t yet support a high number of users in one space making it a little pointless to try and take your nightclub world and jump ship to Horizon.

The future of Altspace, VRChat and Horizon Worlds co-existing

The race between these three will only intensify as VR becomes more integrated into our day to day lives. I certainly think FaceBook/Meta has a huge potential to get millions of people onboarded with VR and marketed to. So I think Horizon Worlds will at least be the “Tutorial Island” of VR but I think there will be more platforms emerging as smaller companies aim to compete. Remembering that completion drives innovation which drives more competition which I think will be for a long time be a war between platforms. Eventually, if Meta has its way your device will be linked to the same company that you socialise on which from a privacy perspective terrifies me.

At the same time, Microsoft’s technology with their headsets into the future as ‘an alternative’ may politically drive users to make the topic of platform administrators having the power to ban users, not Meta. My last impression is that Microsoft and FaceBook will become two big rivals, while there will be smaller ecosystems out there like VRChat remaining. I very much think VRChat will remain relevant for years to come because of the community it already has and its unique vibe.

As for FaceBook Horizon Worlds, Meta will continue to pour as much money into it as it takes for it not to go bust. Will it “win” the hearts and minds of users. Hard to say with the political climate with Covid and the track record of the company.