Microsoft’s first VR headsets are being shipped as part of developer kits for those who are looking to create apps which are based on the Windows Holographic platform.
Microsoft will be shipping their first PC-attached mixed reality headsets for Windows 10 PCs to developers starting in March 2017 at the Game Developers Conference. The first Windows 10 VR headsets from Microsoft will be for the developers to write and test the applications which are based on Windows Holographic platform.
During a webcast, Mr Kolesnikov mentioned that the headset will work with the Windows 10 Creators Update.
However, Microsoft isn’t expecting to sell the Windows 10 VR headsets commercially. The commercial headsets will be available later on this year through; 3Glasses, Asus, Acer, Dell, Lenovo and HP which were all demonstrated at the CES trade show in January.
The head-mounted displays will work like HoloLens, it will allow users to interact with 3D objects that show up as floating images on real-world backgrounds. Just like the Oculus Rift, users can also watch movies, play games in 3D and use apps with the headset.
These headsets need to be connected to the PCs, which will provide the computing horsepower. This is different from the HoloLens, which is a full-blown computer in a headset.
Virtual reality can be demanding on a PC and Microsoft have set minimum hardware requirements which is need to support he headsets.
If you are using a laptop for example, it will need no less than an Intel Core i5 chip based on Kaby Lake architecture and 8GB of dual-channel RAM. Whereas if you are using a desktop, it will need an Intel Core i5 chip based on Skylake.
Gamers will need a faster GPU, CPU and memory for the headsets to keep up with the fast-moving games. Also, headsets will support AMD CPUs and GPUs however, the specifications haven’t been provided yet.
As soon as the headset is plugged into a Windows 10 PC it will be detected and the drivers will start to be installed automatically. The next step for the user would be to set up an “active space” or an area which the users can enjoy playing with the VR headset without hitting any furniture or walls. Although the headset will scan and map out the room, so that if the user steps out of the active space a warning will be issued.
There is a built-in camera available which will be able to take pictures of the environment to create a mapping model, and also the headset will have tracking technology to check the user’s movement. These headsets will also be able to work with Cortana, so that users can speak to give commands or even interact with the content.
Initially these headsets will be able to support nine languages with the possibility of more being added during the holiday season this year.
Finally, Microsoft will start to make all of its universal Windows 10 apps, for example Skype, compatible with the headset. Starting with the Creators update, Microsoft will host a “Movie and TV app” with 360-degree videos which can be viewed on the VR headset. As well as all this the Edge browser, will also have the VR support through the WebVR standard and in addition, Microsoft is also going to be porting some HoloLens apps to the VR headset.