Windows MR Games & Apps Announced Including Halo!
Microsoft have finally announced some games and apps for Windows Mixed Reality branded VR HMDs (virtual reality head mounted displays). Unfortunately Windows MR is currently still PC only, but hopefully it will be announced for at least the upcoming Xbox One X soon. You can watch a trailer featuring some of the games and apps above.
Halo! & SteamVR?
Possibly the biggest annuncement, although not featured in that video, is that Halo will be coming to Windows MR! They do just say “Halo experiences” but hopefully those include games. Another important announcement is that the Windows MR HMDs will support Steam. Although it’s unclear if they just mean Windows MR games will be released on Steam as well as the Windows Store or if they mean the Windows MR HMDs will support SteamVR. If it’s the latter then it will mean they will instantly have access to hundreds of VR games and apps that have been released there so far!
It has also been confirmed from various reports that the motion controllers do in fact still have full tracking outside the view of the HMD’s sensors thanks to their IMUs (inertial measurement units), although it’s not quite as perfect as when they are in view of the sensors. Edit: Upon further research I have discovered that the motion controllers do NOT have full tracking outside the view of the HMD’s sensors, their IMUs track full rotation in any direction but don’t track their position in 3D space. So as soon as the motion controllers go out of view of the sensors they stay fixed in that position in 3D space and can only be rotated until they’re in view of a sensor again. The touchpads, thumsticks and buttons still work even when the motion controllers are out of view of the sensors of course. This could be quite an issue for certain games such as golf games and tennis games for example.
You can read more about today’s Windows MR announcement in this excerpt from Windows Blogs:
Windows Mixed Reality holiday update
Microsoft and partners, including Steam, prepare to democratize virtual reality this holiday.
Windows Mixed Reality: easy setup, affordable gear, a range of hardware choices, and immersive experiences
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. You don’t need to spend hours to set up a single room in your house with a large play space, just plug and play. This also means these experiences are portable – whether you are traveling for work or visiting friends and family, just pack your PC and headset and you can share the magic of mixed reality.
A variety of Windows Mixed Reality headsets and motion controllers will be available this holiday from HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Acer. Headset and motion controller bundles will start as low as $399 and will be compatible with exciting and new PC models starting at $499. Along with our partners, we are committed to making mixed reality affordable.
Range of hardware choices
When it comes to deciding which hardware is right for you, we know that our customers value choice in brand, industrial design, and features. That is why we created Windows Mixed Reality as a platform for you to enjoy experiences across multiple devices that meet your mobility and performance needs.
We have talked a lot about the headsets and motion controllers, now let’s talk about PCs that will be compatible with Windows Mixed Reality. This holiday, customers can choose the PC that’s right for them – Windows Mixed Reality PCs and Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs. Here is some context on what makes the two experiences different:
- 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.
- Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs: will consist of desktops and laptops with discrete graphics. When plugged into these devices, our immersive headsets will run at 90 frames per second.
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.
We are working with an incredible set of partners to bring the most immersive experiences to the Windows Store. First, we are excited to announce the first wave of content partners coming to Windows Mixed Reality. Second, it’s my pleasure to let you know that we are working with 343 Industries to bring future Halo experiences into mixed reality. We are not providing specifics right now, but it is going to be a lot of fun to work with them.
In addition, I am thrilled to announce that Steam content will also run on Windows Mixed Reality headsets. 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.
You can read more about the Windows MR HMDs themselves by clicking this link to my previous article on the subject.
Expect more news from Microsoft’s Pre-PAX ID@Xbox Open House event on August 31st.
I already have an HTC Vive for my PC and I can tell you that VR is absolutely incredible, especially with motion controls and room-scale. (Don’t worry, room-scale games don’t usually require an entire room, most recommend a 2m x 1.5m play space and even then can often work OK with less space since most of them also use various methods of locomotion.) You’re literally transported inside the games with 1:1 head and controller tracking that makes the games more immersive than ever before. It did require me to make expensive upgrades to my PC though, so I’m hoping Windows MR will come to at least Xbox One X if not the original Xbox One too as soon as possible so that Xbox fans can experience high-end VR on their consoles. I know Microsoft say Windows MR will work on lower-spec PCs than other VR HMDs, however many if not most VR games require quite powerful PCs to run properly.
Are you planning on getting a Windows MR HMD for PC or are you going to wait for Microsoft to announce an Xbox console version? Let us now in the comments below or create a discussion in our (PC) Windows Mixed Reality VR General forum.