Halo: 343 Industries Working with VR / AR for Future Titles

Microsoft is taking a big step forward with its plan to conquer virtual reality

"Along with our partners, we are committed to making mixed reality affordable", Kipman notes.

Dell has unveiled the Inspiron 15 7000, its first laptop that meets the minimum requirements for Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality Ultra category. For instance, the headsets start at $299. 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. This includes the recently revealed Dell Visor, which is priced at $400 and can offer support for full motion control. Dell is offering the headset for $359.99 United States and the controllers for another $99.99 US. These devices may not require external markers for positional tracking as seen with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but they still need a relatively powerful PC to run on.

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Microsoft says that these PCs will start at $499.

In addition to lowering the price of a headset, Microsoft is setting new price lows for its companion PCs. Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs, on the other hand, will contain discrete graphics-a separate graphical subsystem, typically in the form of a GPU (graphics processing unit) card-that can pump visuals at a rate of 90 frames per second.

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Windows Mixed Reality needs some software to make it an attractive proposition and what better library for entertainment than Steam? A guaranteed 60fps experience might be tolerable for certain applications, provided you don't move you head around too quickly. Notably during a 30-minute play session with the headset on a Mixed Reality Ultra-specced PC (with a 1080 GPU no less), it was hard to notice any obvious issues with the headset's lower-quality LCD displays.

After numerous sneak peeks, Microsoft and its partners are finally getting ready to launch its new mixed-reality headsets and PCs later this year. As a creator, it is inspiring to see the world embrace mixed reality; to see organizations and developers stretch the boundaries of what we can do with technology. Note that they include a number of developers who already have published virtual reality apps, or just apps for Windows. HoloLens demonstrations have included a Halo experience in the past, but 343's next work could well take the form of VR.

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"Mixed reality is the future, and we want everyone on the journey with us", Alex Kipman, technical fellow at Microsoft, said in a blog post.

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