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Like many companies, Microsoft made a big bet on virtual & augmented reality a few years back. But it looks like the company has decided that bet hasn’t really paid off.
Windows Mixed Reality has been added to Microsoft’s list of deprecated features, and it will be removed from Windows altogether in an upcoming release. Update: That “upcoming” release will arrive in late 2024.
Microsoft first launched its Mixed Reality platform in 2017, when it debuted as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and it built upon the “holographic” features that debuted with the introduction of the Microsoft Hololens in 2015.
Users could put on a headset and interact with Windows apps and games in a virtual environment. Microsoft called the platform “mixed reality” rather than “virtual reality” because the goal was always to let you view a mix of virtual and real-world objects and environments in the same view, much the way that the Meta Quest 3 or upcoming Apple Vision Pro can.
Companies including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung all launched Windows Mixed Reality headsets in 2017 or 2018, but we haven’t seen any significant new models in this space since 2020 and Microsoft hasn’t put much effort into Windows Mixed reality in recent years.
But it’s unclear if anyone with an existing Windows Mixed Reality headset is about to end up with a glorified paperweight. Microsoft says when kills off Windows Mixed Reality, the Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR feature will be collateral damage. This is the feature that “allows users to run SteamVR experiences on Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets,” which suggests that when Microsoft pulls the plug, you may lose access to that functionality unless you can find (or develop) third-party apps that allow the headsets to continue functioning.
Update: In a statement to UploadVR, Microsoft says that consumers will be able to download the Windows Mixed Reality app and driver for StreamVR after November 1, 2026, and it will be unavailable for commercial customers after November 1, 2027. That means that users should be able to continue using Windows Mix Reality headsets with SteamVR for at least a few more years, but you won’t be able to set up a headset to work with SteamVR after that time.
At least Microsoft didn’t rename the company to align with its VR/AR ambitions.
via Windows Central