Microsoft helps hardware companies make VR more affordable

Everybody wants to rule the VR world, and Microsoft is no exception. Sony, Oculus, and HTC all have headsets on the market promising the full VR experience, while Samsung and Google have mobile-focused headsets. Today at its Windows event, Microsoft unveiled its entry into the VR fray. The company is looking to bring affordable VR headsets to the market by way of partnerships with companies like HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, and Asus. Prices will start at $299, a far cry from the $500-and-up tags on other VR headsets.

As points of comparison, Sony's console-based PlayStation VR requires a $499 investment, while the Oculus Rift rings up at $599 for the headset alone. The low price tag comes by way of what Microsoft calls "inside-out six-degrees-of-freedom sensors," which it says make external cameras and sensors unnecessary.

Microsoft's offering looks more like Sony's Playstation VR than its PC-powered counterparts, using a headband-style rig to fit to the user instead of over-the-head straps. The headset was announced in conjunction with the Windows 10 Creators Update, which will integrate VR functionality in some areas of the operating system.

There's no word yet on when these headsets will hit the market or how they might interact with games or consoles, but this news should provide some impetus for Oculus and HTC to work on making their devices both easier on the wallet and more consumer-friendly.

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