Microsoft Ramps-Up Windows Mixed Reality Play With Partners Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer And Valve's Steam Platform

While VR is the big thing for gaming, there is another similar tech that PC makers and software giant Microsoft really want to take off in a big way and that is mixed reality. VR and mixed reality are similar in that both have virtual constructs in them, but in VR everything that the user of the tech sees is virtual whereas mixed reality overlays virtual objects with your real world environment.

Mixed reality has big potential to revolutionize industry with the ability to help train new workers and to bring gaming into your home in a new way. Microsoft writes, "A little over ten months ago our mixed reality journey took a leap forward when we announced that the world’s largest PC makers were working with us to democratize virtual reality this holiday with Windows Mixed Reality headsets."

mixed reality headset from acer dell hp and lenovo

Microsoft is now ready to give up more details on its plan with these PC makers at IFA in Berlin. Redmond wants to make Windows Mixed Reality easy to setup, affordable, and to give users a range of hardware choices to generate immersive experiences. Microsoft writes, "Existing high-end VR headsets with external cameras are cumbersome to set up. For more people to experience VR one of the barriers that needed to be removed was the need for external markers. That is why the Windows Mixed Reality headsets coming this holiday will be the first to deliver VR experiences with built-in sensors to track your physical position without requiring you to purchase and install external sensors in your room."

dell visor headset and controllers
Dell's Visor Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Microsoft wants to make the mixed reality experience a plug-and-play one, like other computer peripherals, that you can easily set up and take with you on the go. This holiday season, a range of mixed reality headsets and motion controllers are coming from big name PC makers like HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Acer. The Acer and HP mixed reality headsets were up for pre-order back in May. The headset and motion controller bundles will start at $399. The hardware will require a compatible PC, but Microsoft says that new PC models that support these headsets will be available starting at $499.

There will be two main branches for devices that support mixed reality headset including Windows Mixed Reality PCs and Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs. Microsoft says of the former, "Windows Mixed Reality PCs: will consist of desktops and laptops with integrated graphics. When plugged into these devices, our immersive headsets will run at 60 frames per second."

Microsoft says Mixed Reality Ultra PCs, "consist of desktops and laptops with discrete graphics. When plugged into these devices, our immersive headsets will run at 90 frames per second."

Both of the PC configurations will support immersive video and gaming. Something gamers will be glad to hear is that Microsoft is working with 343 Industries to bring future Halo experiences to mixed reality. The software giant declined to offer any specifics on that future game. However, what could be bigger news for some gamers is that Steam content will also run on the Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Microsoft's Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16273 recently introduced a new mixed reality feature that will make using these headsets easier.