Microsoft to add SteamVR support to Windows Mixed Reality

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It uses a pair of 1440 x 1440 pixel LCD panels that should create quite detailed virtual and mixed reality environments.

Asus' new Mixed Reality headset is based on Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality concept, something that the Redmond major is pushing in a major way.

Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality platform is starting to take shape.

The headset has a cable management clip to secure cords and route them to the back of the headband.

Dell has made a play for the burgeoning VR headset market with its new Visor headset and controller combo.

The headset also comes with a controller which can be bought separately, bringing the price to $459.99.

Microsoft and its partners (Dell, Lenovo, Acer and HP) are committing to launching its headsets at $399 and the PCs needed to support them at $499.

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Whether or not Microsoft actually follows through with Mixed Reality or abandons it in a couple of years remains to be seen, but with impressive support from PC OEMs across the board, it looks as though Redmond might have a fighting chance. For those looking purely at virtual reality the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive would be an undeniably better choice; it's only when augmented - or "mixed" in Microsoft parlance - reality is brought into the equation that the offerings from Microsoft's hardware partners may tip the scales. Windows Mixed Reality has a pair of modes: regular and "Ultra".

I had the chance last week to try "Minecraft" on a near-final version of Acer's $299 VR headset that was connected to a laptop with integrated graphics. The current tethered VR headsets require the placement of sensors for tracking so that users get the full experience.

On the topic of clear wins, the platform's overall tracking is indeed a game-changer without qualification and an evolution that will undoubtedly be coming other headsets soon.

You've nearly certainly heard of Minecraft, if not because you play it then because your kids probably do. But I am, of course, curious to see how things develop. Microsoft motion controllers give off a bit of a disco ball vibe as they're tracked by a number of shining embedded LEDs that convey the controllers' exact positioning to the headset.

For comparison, when Oculus first launched, the goggles cost around $700 and ran on large PCs priced at around $1,000.

Microsoft released a sizzle reel of some of the available apps, which include Dreams of Dali, SuperHot VR, and GoPro 360-degree videos, among others.