Microsoft announced their new Windows 10 Mixed Reality initiative for the home computing platform. The Mixed Reality platform will go live starting October 17th as part of the fall creators update. In addition to the launch of the VR-themed platform there will also be a number of headsets coming to the market as well.
Engadget is reporting that HP, Lenovo and Dell will each have their own VR headsets rolling out for the Mixed Reality platform, priced between $350 and $450. You can get the headset by itself for $350, but if you want it bundled with the motion controller, it will cost you $450… the same price as the PlayStation VR bundle or $50 less than the Oculus Rift bundle.
Unlike the current crop of headsets, the new Mixed Reality VR headsets will boast an impressive 1440p resolution per eye, up from the 1080p standards of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and far exceeding the 960p standards of the PSVR. Each headset will also house a 90 hertz refresh rate, so the FPS standards won’t be any worse for wear than what you’re used to from the current VR offerings.
The article notes that unlike the Vive, Rift or PSVR, you won’t need an external tracking device for the controllers or the headset. Instead of using lighthouses, sensors, or a camera, the Mixed Reality sets for Windows 10 will have “inside-out” spatial tracking that relies on internal cameras, along with accelerometers within the controllers and linking sensors to the headset for positional awareness and motion tracking.
While it’s nice that there’s now fewer hardware hurdles to overcome in order to get into the whole VR thing, there are still two major problems: price and software.
VR still doesn’t have a killer app. Superhot VR and Arizona Sunshine are still the two de facto standards to point to when talking about quality VR outings, but neither are so great that you would attempt to convince a friend, a casual, or even a hardcore gamer to plop down $400 or more for a headset.
Worries are already mounting over whether or not Microsoft will attempt another walled garden ecosystem for the software, similar to what they attempted to do with Games For Windows Live; or the disabille manner in which Facebook attempted to corner the market with the Oculus Store.
Most people agree that the only good thing about VR for now… is the porn.