Windows Mixed Reality Event
Microsoft held a Windows Mixed Reality event in San Francisco yesterday, which you can watch in full above. Unfortunately it was a bit disappointing as it only had a few big announcements and one of them, the Samsung Odyssey VR HMD, was already leaked before the event which I already posted an article about. Although the host, inventor of Kinect and HoloLens Alex Kipman, did present a good demo of Windows Mixed Reality’s home space, which is called Cliff House. Other than the Samsung Odyssey announcement the only big announcements were the following:
- Halo Recruit – A 5 minute Halo experience which you can read about in my previous article.
- AltSpaceVR – A Second Life-style social app for VR, which originally briefly closed down a couple of months ago due to the developer running out of funds. Then it suddenly came back and there was speculation that Palmer Luckey, the creator of Oculus Rift who was essentially pushed out of Oculus due to politics, had bought it since he had posted a poll on Twitter asking people whether he should buy AltspaceVR or not to save it. However, today it was revealed that it was actually Microsoft who bought AltspaceVR. You can watch a trailer for AltspaceVR below, but please note that the trailer is over a year old and AltspaceVR has updated a lot since then:
- SteamVR – The final big announcement was that although SteamVR support won’t be available for Windows Mixed Reality’s launch it should be available by Christmas. So if by any chance you’re not interested in any of Windows Mixed Reality’s launch games, which you will only be able to buy from the Windows Store at first if you have a Windows MR HMD, then you will have access to a LOT more games once SteamVR is supported, like one of the best-selling VR games Raw Data which was one of the examples talked about during the event. Hundreds more in fact, although many of those are still in Early Access and not finished games yet.
You can also watch the latest Windows Mixed Reality trailer below, because for some reason they only showed the previous one at the event despite posting this one online:
The event’s biggest disappointment was the lack of a certain announcement many people have been waiting for. Xbox VR. Yes, once again there was no mention whatsoever of Microsoft’s VR plans for its Xbox consoles. I really don’t understand why, since VR would be a major system-seller for Xbox One X and Microsoft needs all the sales it can get for its Xbox One consoles as they’re not only being outsold by Sony’s PS4 but also Nintendo’s Switch! (On a weekly basis, not overall sales as the Switch hasn’t sold anywhere near 30 million yet.) Hopefully there will be an Xbox VR announcement eventually and sooner rather than later as they’re already having to play catch-up with PSVR which has been out for a year now and had already sold over a million by June.
VR is more important to videogames than 4K. Unlike VR, nobody is making any games that require 4K or are better in 4K beyond having a slightly sharper image. Sure, some games running on Xbox One X will also have improved textures and/or effects and/or frame rates, but even better frame rates won’t have as much impact on gameplay as VR does, which runs at a minimum 60fps on Windows MR anyway. Although it’s great that we’re getting better looking flat-screen games, the best use of Xbox One X’s power would be for high-end VR. So come on Microsoft, announce Xbox VR already as not everybody can afford the PCs required for high-end VR games and the Xbox One X costs probably less than half the price of an equivalent PC! I encourage all Xbox fans, especially Kinect fans who love motion controlled gaming and have been let down by Microsoft these past few years, to make your voices heard to Microsoft across social media or even just writing emails to urge them to bring VR to at least Xbox One X if not also the standard Xbox One if possible.
What did you think of Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality event? Were you a bit disappointed like I was? Are you buying a Windows Mixed Reality VR HMD and if so which one? Or are you going to wait and see if and when Microsoft announces Xbox VR either via support for these or a dedicated VR HMD for Xbox One X (and possibly the standard Xbox One too)? Let us know in the comments below or create a discussion in our (PC) Windows Mixed Reality VR General forum.