Published: Thu, August 31, 2017
Sci-tech | By Javier West

Microsoft Provides a Sneak Peek at Its Mixed Reality Holiday Plans

Microsoft Provides a Sneak Peek at Its Mixed Reality Holiday Plans

Microsoft has also revealed two categories of computer capable of powering the mixed reality experiences: Windows Mixed Reality PC and Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PC.

HP, Lenovo, and Acer are three other companies working on headsets.

Windows Mixed Reality PCs: Desktops and laptops with integrated graphics.

Sean also reports the controllers are not completely comfortable to use, but this is likely something which will vary from hand-size to hand-size.

Microsoft's main goal with their Mixed Reality devices is to make the platform affordable to all. Oculus already offers their controller / headset bundle for the same price and the HTC Vive saw a recent price cut down to $599. In simpler terms, this means that it has inside-out tracking cameras on the headset itself, rather than external sensors that have to be set up in the room (something that you will experience with the HTC Vive).

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Moving around is accomplished through triggers on the handsets, which takes some getting used to if you're not a gamer.

You'll be able to buy the controllers in a bundle with Acer's headset for $399. Mind you, Microsoft introduced the platform in May, alongside an announcement from Dell that it planned to build a headset for the platform. Developer 343 Industries, the studio responsible for overseeing Halo, has previously created demonstrations for the HoloLens augmented-reality headset that is still in early testing at Microsoft. Up until now, these "Windows Mixed Reality PCs" were seen as consumer application driven. The second line is "The Ultra Line" which will have discrete GPUs and will ensure that the experience will hit 90 FPS.

Affordability and easy setup are a couple of the pillars that Microsoft is championing in order to make virtual reality available to the masses. Notably during a 30-minute play session with the headset on a Mixed Reality Ultra-specced PC (with a 1080 GPU no less), it was hard to notice any obvious issues with the headset's lower-quality LCD displays.

For comparison, when Oculus first launched, the goggles cost around $700 and ran on large PCs priced at around $1,000. Whether Microsoft achieves that goal - with Apple, Google, and Facebook all ramping up the competition - remains to be seen. These include 343 Industries, the videogame developer behind the hugely popular Halo franchise.

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