Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality HMDs to run Steam content

Microsoft is taking a big step forward with its plan to conquer virtual reality

But Microsoft did not invent the concept or phrase Mixed Reality. While the list of developers is significant and growing, one name stands out: 343 Industries, which will be bringing "Halo experiences" to Windows Mixed Reality. Microsoft officials say that holiday shoppers will be offered two new lines of Microsoft PCs and laptops that start at $499. The visor also features a unique flip-up capability for quickly transitioning from a virtual world to the real world without having to take the headset off completely. According to The Verge, the cameras on the front of the headset could theoretically provide a reality which is halfway between AR and VR. This summer, a promotion brought the price down to $399, including the hand controllers.

In addition to being a lot less expensive, Windows Mixed Reality headsets are also more portable than HoloLens or any PC-based VR solution. In addition to being thousands of dollars cheaper than HoloLens (which technically isnot a consumer device), the mixed reality headsets were created to be tethered to a PC.

Clunky, tethered headsets and the lack of a "killer app" have dissuaded all but hard-core gaming enthusiasts from buying virtual reality headsets, leading to slashed industry forecasts and lowered prices. The company also said its mixed reality content would include Steam's VR games and even some sort of Halo experience. The question isn't so much whether an integrated GPU can run VR, but what kind of quality sacrifices will be required to run it well, and whether we'll ever see games support this beyond the simplest titles. If the Dell Visor can provide almost the same experience as a Microsoft HoloLens, experiencing VR without shelling too many funds is something both consumers and enterprises can hope for in the future. They'll eventually be offering PCs with those capable of 60 frames labeled as standard Mixed Reality PCs and those capable of 90 labeled as Mixed Reality Ultra. But I am, of course, curious to see how things develop.

Microsoft is taking a big step forward with its plan to conquer virtual reality

Learning from competitors, Microsoft is looking to avoid the missteps of others by making its technology reasonably priced, easy to use and compatible with a wider range of PC options. With such similar pricing, Microsoft and Dell will need a good pitch to get people to chose their headsets over the competition's.

The new controllers operate in a 3-dimensional space including forward/back, up/down, and left/right with sensors in the headset tracking motion.


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