On October 26, Microsoft doubled down on virtual reality by announcing their own VR headsets at the Windows 10 event.
Unless you’ve got $599 for the Oculus Rift, or $799 for Valve’s HTC Vive, your pass into the frontier of early virtual reality experiences has necessarily remained a digital dream. According to Microsoft, that’s all changing very soon.
Acer, Asus, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo are among the third-party manufacturers helping Microsoft to launch their own line of affordable VR headsets. How affordable? The starting price point is half that of the Oculus Rift, at a much less eye-watering $299.
Executive VP of Windows and Devices Terry Myerson claims that the new headsets will also avoid elaborate setup, as the first headset to launch with “inside-out six degrees of freedom sensors.” This is a notable upgrade in both ease of use and overall quality of life for new and veteran users alike. If the sensors work well, it will eliminate the need to engineer your entire living room around the specifications of a peripheral.
You can catch the whole 2+ hour presentation on-demand from Microsoft. Notably, we don’t see any gaming implementation at all. There is, however, a “Holotour” of various locales that could be a very zen experience for would-be world travelers.
Can Microsoft’s focus on affordability and accessibility overcome the Oculus and Valve head starts? Will the headset itself be robust enough to offer the same level of experience? Will third party software embrace another major entry into the industry? We have a lot of questions, and this is just the beginning.
Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.