Alongside new Windows 10 update
Several of Microsoft’s manufacturing partners will release new virtual reality headsets alongside the new Windows 10 Creators Update, the company announced during a Windows-centric press conference Wednesday morning. The hardware will come from companies like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Acer, and will retail starting at $299.
The headsets will boast “inside-out tracking,” Microsoft said during the event. That allows for the headsets to track users’ movements without using any additional sensors. The PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift hardware each require tracking sensors and cost as much as $800.
“This means there’ll be zero need for a separate room,” explained Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group.
Microsoft is pushing virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality tools with its substantive Creators Update, which launches for free next spring. Several apps utilizing the technologies were shown on stage during the event. That includes HoloTour, a 360-degree view of landscapes accessible with compatible virtual reality peripherals.
Although these are third-party devices, Microsoft has its own, similar device in production. The developers edition of the HoloLens augmented reality headset currently ships for $3,000. A release date for the consumer edition has not yet been announced.
It’s not clear whether the third-party VR headsets will be used for gameplay, although HoloLens is expected to launch with compatible gaming software.