Microsoft recently went into greater detail about its plans for diving into virtual reality, and it will have a little help from Steam and Master Chief.
Alex Kipman, who [ Register or Signin to view external links. ] back in 2015, recently announced that 343 Industries is working on a new Halo VR game for Microsofts Mixed Reality headsets. It sounds like the game is still a ways off, as Kipman gave no details about the game itself, but its exciting to hear that Microsoft is working on bringing first-party games other than Minecraft to its VR headsets. Still, we hope that it will be a little more involved than the [ Register or Signin to view external links. ] shown back at E3 2015.
As far as third-party support goes, Microsoft is partnering with Steam to run Steam VR games on its Mixed Reality headsets, meaning there will be a backlog of great content for players who are just getting into VR through Microsofts newcomers.
Kipman listed a ton of other third-party support as well, including Hulu, Sony Pictures, and other non-gaming media companies, as well as specific games like Arizona Sunshine, I Expect You to Die, Skyworld, and Superhot.
Mixed Reality headsets are basically Microsofts answer to the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Like the Rift and the Vive, Mixed Reality headsets use motion controls, but what sets Mixed Reality headsets apart is that they dont require cameras to track player movement, as they have motion sensors built into the headset itself.
As far as the actual hardware goes, there will be two kinds of Windows Mixed Reality PCs: standard and ultra. Standard PCs using integrated graphics will run headsets at 60 frames per second, while ultra PCs using discrete graphics will run at 90 frames per second. Microsoft is working with Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Acer to bring Mixed Reality headsets to stores this holiday season, with headset-and-controller bundles going for $399 (which is the current price for similar Oculus bundles) and separately sold, Mixed Reality-compatible Windows 10 PCs starting at $499.
It will be interesting to see what Microsoft will do with Mixed Reality, such as whether it will be a strictly VR experience or if it will integrate HoloLens augmented reality technology in some way. It will also be interesting to see how Microsoft can compete with similar headsets, which have had a fairly long head-start on the market, though bringing Mixed Reality to Xbox could be a major step in the right direction, if Microsoft decides to do that.