Microsoft just delivered some big news regarding its mixed reality initiative for Windows 10. All of those affordable headsets that are coming from Microsoft’s hardware partners will not just be used for gimmicky Windows 10 interactions, but actual gaming. In a recent blog post, Microsoft let it be known that Steam content will run on Windows mixed reality headsets. Whoa.
“Virtual reality enthusiasts know that Steam is a great place to enjoy cutting edge immersive experiences. We can’t wait to bring their content to you,” Microsoft says.
Naturally Microsoft will also focus on Windows Store content. It has already lined up several content partners, such as Hulu, Sony, and many others. But Microsoft is also working with 343 Industries to bring Halo into the fold.
To what extent remains to be seen. Microsoft was careful with its wording, saying that its partnership with 343 Industries will “bring future Halo experiences into mixed reality.” We hope that means full-fledged games, though it could also mean a lesser experience. Considering that Steam support is planned, we’re hoping for the former.
Up until now, much of the talk surrounding surrounding Microsoft’s mixed reality play has been focused on the headsets and motion controllers. But like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, these headsets will need to be plugged into a PC. Microsoft provided some basic clarification on the PC side, breaking things down into categories—Windows mixed reality PCs and Windows mixed reality ultra PCs.
Mixed reality PCs will consists of desktops and laptops with integrated graphics. When plugged into one of these presumably certified systems, Microsoft says the headsets will run at 60 frames per second.
For a higher end experience, mixed reality ultra PCs will consists of desktops and laptops with discrete graphics. Like the non-ultra setups, the exact hardware configuration is not known, though Microsoft is promising 90 fps on these rigs.
“Both configurations will support today’s immersive video and gaming experiences such as traveling to a new country, exploring space, swimming with dolphins, or shooting zombies. Use your Windows mixed reality motion controllers to enjoy a world of discovery and imagination this holiday,” Microsoft explains.
Microsoft reiterated that these headsets will be comparatively affordable, with headset and motion controller bundles starting at $399. They will be compatible with existing and new PCs starting at $499, so you’re looking at around $900 to go all-in with a new headset and system.
Dell has already gotten itself out in front by announcing pricing on its upcoming Visor, which is essentially the company’s own take on HoloLens. That headset will run $350, with the controllers costing an additional $100 (so $450 for both).