Why it matters to you
Windows Mixed Reality will partner with Steam for content, and two tiers of hardware requirements have been defined.
Microsoft has announced a major new software distribution platform that will be supported by Windows Mixed Reality. Steam content will run on Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Joe Ludwig of Valve had a few words to say about the importance of Microsoft’s building Steam support into its solution:
“The introduction of Windows Mixed Reality headsets is big step forward for VR. Working with Microsoft to include SteamVR compatibility with these devices is also a big step in growing VR as an open platform for developers and consumers. With a broad range of hardware options available from leading PC manufacturers, the Steam community will have more choice than ever to experience the amazing potential of VR.”
This reveal came as part of a broad push to put Windows Mixed Reality in the limelight at the start of IFA 2017, Europe’s largest consumer electronics show. We went hands-on with Windows Mixed Reality just prior to the show’s start, and found it to be a promising start at an affordable price point. Yet its present focus on virtual reality (VR) rather than augmented reality (AR) led us to wonder at Microsoft’s use of the word “mixed.”
In response, the company has clarified what the term means. A Microsoft representative told Digital Trends the following over email.
“While the upcoming Windows Mixed Reality headsets are closer to the full digital end of the spectrum, they do begin to incorporate elements of the physical world, such as environmental awareness and full 6DoF hand input via motion controllers. Furthermore, Windows Mixed Reality is a unified platform that spans the entire spectrum, enabling the upcoming headsets to elegantly interface with devices closer to the physical reality end of the spectrum, such as Microsoft HoloLens. Our vision has been clear from the start, and this is why we call all of it Windows Mixed Reality.”
Thus, in a sense, Microsoft’s believes its vision is realized with HoloLens representing AR, the new headsets representing VR, with the Windows Mixed Reality platform tying all of the hardware together.
Microsoft has also announced some tantalizing tidbits about the PCs that will be coming to host the platform. The company is introducing two levels of Windows Mixed Reality-compatible PCs depending on the kind of content that MR customers want to run and the level of performance at which they want to run it.
- Windows Mixed Reality PCs: Desktop and laptops equipped with integrated graphics will be able to drive immersive content at 60 frames per second. Prices will start at $500.
- Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs: Desktops and laptops equipped with discrete graphics will be able to run content at 90 frames per second
Again, this is just a teaser, as Microsoft will be releasing more details on the Windows Mixed Reality platform during IFA 2017. This includes the recently revealed Dell Visor, which is priced at $400 and can offer support for full motion control.