Microsoft Readies Windows Mixed Reality Developer Kits

Posted March 05, 2017

In a presentation at this week's Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, Microsoft unveiled a new VR headset, made by Acer and designed specifically for developing apps in virtual reality.

Microsoft rebranded its Windows Holographic tech recently, to Windows Mixed Reality, and announced that other manufacturers would be creating their own headsets for PC.

This news is especially significant since the software giant is now shipping Windows Mixed Reality headsets (previously known as Windows Holographic headset) to developers.

Windows Insiders have been receiving these new differential updates since early December, and Microsoft has reported on the effectiveness of the new scheme. Gesture tracking, another key pillar of the HoloLens experience, is also missing from the Acer HMD. It notes that the company is looking to take its platform beyond "mixed reality-ready" desktops and its own MR headset, HoloLens, stating: "Our plan is to bring mixed reality content to the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio, in 2018". Create mixed reality experiences targeting a broad range of Windows 10 devices-from the untethered, self-contained HoloLens to fully immersive PC experiences using the upcoming Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

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While Microsoft has pitched Mixed Reality as a suitable solution for those who want to interact with software, it could also be a neat way for game developers to deliver titles. That's why Microsoft is calling them mixed reality headsets.

Microsoft previously announced that Project Scorpio will be compatible with VR technology and said it should be available when the device launches this year.

The plan also includes Project Scorpio, a high-end version of the Xbox One slated to launch later this year. The introduction of Mixed Reality may be the silver bullet the company needs to tilt the balance power to its favor.

Eric Walston, a member of Microsoft's Xbox Advanced Computing Group, provided a few more tidbits about how Game Mode will "focus the existing hardware on providing the best possible gaming experience". The ACER headset comes with two LCD displays in high resolution at 1440 x 1440.