While Microsoft plans to show off more Windows Mixed Reality features at the IFA trade show this week, the company is kicking off the week by promising that headsets from PC makers will be available by this holiday season, and that headset + motion controller bundles will sell for between $399 and $499.
Dell’s Visor, by the way, is priced at $350, but that price goes up to $450 when you add the motion controllers.
Still, those prices are pretty competitive when you compare these systems with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Even after price cuts, the Vive sells for $599 and the Rift for $399. And that’s before you add the external hardware necessary for room-scale VR with position tracking.
The Dell, Acer, HP, and Lenovo headsets all have built-in sensors that enable 6 degrees of freedom motion and position tracking without any external cameras.
Oh, and Microsoft has also announced that there will be two categories of computers that can power Mixed Reality experiences:
- Windows Mixed Reality PCs – Laptops and desktops with integrated graphics will offer frame rates up to 60 frames per second
- Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs – Laptops and desktops with discrete graphics will support up to 90 frames per second.
So what will you actually be able to do with Windows Mixed Reality headsets? Microsoft has revealed that Steam VR content will work with the headsets, and we can expect apps and games from organizations including Hulu, Halo, NextVR, Sony Pictures, and LifeVR, just to name a few.
For the most part, Microsoft’s “Mixed Reality” platform seems to be turning into “virtual reality,” since these headsets are designed to offer a fully immersive experience rather than one that superimposes virtual items on real-world scenes. But with prices starting at $399 (or less if you don’t need the motion controllers), these headsets are a heck of a lot cheaper than Microsoft’s first true mixed reality headset: the $3,000 HoloLens.