Published: Sat, October 07, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Samsung announces new Windows-based virtual-reality headset at Microsoft event

While Microsoft has made much of the confusing Mixed Reality claims, their marketing rightly emphasises the actual advantage their headsets have - easy setup and usage via inside-out tracking, which solves some of the practical pain points plaguing in other VR headsets.

The announcement is a bit of a big deal, at least potentially. However, did not reveal the specifics of the deal, simply saying AltspaceVR is joining Microsoft. Although, now Mixed Reality platform is nothing more than a virtual reality platform. It certain gives Microsoft some street cred.

It's hard not to get excited at the prospect of Windows Mixed Reality when every company is throwing its hat into the ring, but disappointment hit when Steam support was not going to be ready for launch.

HMD Odyssey is a premium headset with a premium price, going to $499, the same price as Oculus Rift but has a better refresh rate.

All that said, we will have to wait and see what the standout game will be, even with Steam VR brought into the fold.

Yesterday, IHS Markit told MCV it expects Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality headsets will have a "slow start" when they launch later this month, but SuperData's VP of research and strategy Stephanie Llamas predicts it will actually outsell both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive this quarter.

The Windows platform will also have a good range of content; Microsoft has its own IP such as Halo and Minecraft, and the platform will also be compatible with SteamVR, giving access to two VR ecosystems with a single headset purchase. The built-in headphones are a game-changer (no pun intended) in the world of VR gaming and will no doubt have countless additional applications. PCGamesN makes the argument that "up until recently, Windows mixed reality seemed to be a VR-lite product".

I'll admit it, when VR first became a "thing", I was skeptical.

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