By Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow at Microsoft
Mixed reality will unleash the creativity of every person and every organization on the planet. Our journey has been filled with key moments in time that have shown us what is possible as we enter this next era of computing, the era of mixed reality. From the introduction of Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first fully self-contained holographic computer in January 2015, to the welcoming of enterprise partners like Ford Motor Company, the inspiration and creativity we have seen from customers and modern workplaces continues to inspire us and drive us forward.
Today in San Francisco was another key moment in time. I had the privilege of sharing more about Microsoft’s mixed reality vison. We unveiled a Windows Mixed Reality headset from Samsung, the Samsung HMD Odyssey, which joins the family of Windows Mixed Reality headsets. I talked about the work we are doing with SteamVR and announced that AltspaceVR is joining our Microsoft team. Finally, we kicked off the holiday buying season by celebrating the availability of pre-orders for Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
Mixed Reality at Microsoft
We are standing at the threshold of the next revolution in computing. A revolution where computers empower us to expand our capabilities and transcend time, space and devices. A revolution where we immerse ourselves in virtual worlds of our choosing and we accomplish seemingly impossible things, while making lasting memories with the people we love.
Our sense of what is possible is set to be transformed as we enter a new era of computing, the era of mixed reality. We have started to see this transformation take place in the modern workplace and soon we’ll see it in every facet of life. With mixed reality, our ideas move beyond the boundaries of paper, beyond the boundaries of screens, and beyond the boundaries of description. This is the fundamental promise of mixed reality. The barrier that exists between our physical and digital worlds will disappear.
We believe we will have to evolve today’s devices and experiences to deliver on the promise of mixed reality. Since we introduced the world to mixed reality we have been committed to approaching this revolution in a patient, meaningful and holistic way. To achieve that we continue to:
- Embrace the entire continuum from augmented reality to virtual reality and everywhere in between
- Build cutting-edge devices and the technologies that power them, such as HoloLens
- Create a unified platform for applications and the services to target
With Windows we are delivering the only operating system designed for the broadest range of inputs from traditional inputs like keyboards and mice, touch and ink, gamepads and our new industry defining motion controllers to now more natural human inputs such as gaze, voice and gestures.
This approach allows us and our ecosystem to embrace and take advantage of a wide range of experiences across the mixed reality spectrum – from simplified augmented reality, to immersive virtual reality, to holographic computing – forever changing the way each of us work, communicate and play
Welcome the Samsung HMD Odyssey
Today, we also unveiled the latest device to join our growing family of Windows Mixed Reality headsets: the Samsung HMD Odyssey.
It was my pleasure to be joined by Alanna Cotton, Vice-President and General Manager of Samsung Electronics America, who participated in our presentation.
Cotton said: “When we began designing and engineering the Samsung HMD Odyssey with Microsoft, there was only one goal in mind, create a high-performing headset that’s easy to set up and can transport people to the incredible world of virtual reality. Powered with dual AMOLED displays, which Samsung is known for, that result in vivid colours and the highest resolution in the industry, built-in spatial AKG headphones, inside-out tracking, built-in microphone and quick, responsive motion controllers, the Samsung HMD Odyssey immerses users with a 110-degree field of view as they discover the new frontier of Windows Mixed Reality.
“Samsung is committed to working across platforms to build cutting-edge technology, and we’re excited to partner with Microsoft to shape the future of virtual reality. But most of all, we can’t wait for you to take the Samsung HMD Odyssey out for a spin, and see it for yourself.”
I am thrilled to have Samsung join us on our mixed reality journey.
Immersive VR Content on Windows Mixed Reality
On October 17, Windows Mixed Reality fans can enjoy more than 20,000 apps in the Microsoft Store. We recently announced that the hottest VR games are coming to the Microsoft Store and Windows Mixed Reality – titles like Obduction, Dreams of Dali, Space Pirate Trainer, Superhot, Arizona Sunshine, Luna, Skyworld, Move, Free the Night, Minecraft, Fantastic Contraption and more will take advantage of the Universal Windows Platform.
Gamers love choice, and there is no bigger collection of VR games than on Steam. Last month we shared that we are working with Valve to run SteamVR content on Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets. Starting today, developers will be provided access to the Windows Mixed Reality SteamVR preview, so they can try out their experiences. This holiday, consumers will get access to this preview.
Also on October 17, Halo fans will be able to get their first glimpse for what mixed reality and Halo can feel like. Bonnie Ross, Head of 343 Industries, joined us as a holographic presenter to share details about Halo: Recruit, a fun, brief introduction into the world of Halo – where you’ll see several iconic characters in mixed reality for the very first time.
AltspaceVR is now part of Microsoft
We also welcomed the talented team at AltspaceVR to Microsoft. AltspaceVR is one of the pioneers in immersive communications, bringing people together in virtual reality from more than 160 countries to attend meetups, comedy shows, yoga classes, dance parties and large-scale events hosted by NBC, Reggie Watts, Justin Roiland, Drew Carey and more.
With the AltspaceVR team onboard, we look forward to building the world’s preeminent mixed reality community.
Windows Mixed Reality headsets now available for pre-order
All Windows Mixed Reality headsets coming this holiday are now available for pre-order. To get yours now from the Microsoft Store, check out the product specific pre-order pages below.
- Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset
- Dell Visor
- HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset
- Lenovo Explorer
- Samsung HMD Odyssey
Mixed reality on Windows PCs all begins with the upcoming release of the Fall Creators Update to Windows 10. It’s the first spatial operating system – complete with a library of content that will inspire you, and a portfolio of the best, easiest to use and most affordable headsets paired with the most powerful motion controllers. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to download the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update on October 17 or upgrade to a new PC and start exploring these amazing new mixed reality capabilities.
It’s an exciting time for our team, our partners, our customers, for all of us. As always reach out to me on Twitter with your questions and comments. I always want to hear from you.