Windows Mixed Reality gets motion controllers and a $399 bundle

HoloLens gear isn't widely known or at least talked about in the consumer space, but the mixed reality hardware and custom applications for it have apparently found a strong foothold in the corporate space. Microsoft still has a virtual eye set on the consumer space, though. Following in the footsteps of both Oculus and HTC, Microsoft has now designed a pair of handheld controllers for use with its consumer-focused Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) gear. Check out the video below to get a good look at them.

In an interesting twist, there's no need for extra tracking hardware like the Oculus trackers or the Vive lighthouses. The WMR headsets themselves include optical sensors that will pick up the position and orientation of the motion controllers, thanks to the array of lights encircling them. While the concept is convenient and simple, there's no telling what'll happen if the user's hands aren't in front of the headset. The controllers have trigger buttons, a thumbstick, and a circular touchpad.

That's not all, though. Price has historically been one of the main problems against widespread adoption of VR and AR gear in the PC space, and we suspect there may be a price war brewing. Microsoft announced today that it'll be selling a bundle with an Acer headset and a pair of motion controllers for the affordable sum of $399 at its Store. The headset alone goes for $299.

Alhtough the WMR headsets' tech specs don't match higher-end VR headsets, the bundle's price cuts deeply under the $600 that Oculus is currently asking for its bundle. Acer is also apparently only one of the multiple companies that Microsoft will be partnering with for Windows Mixed Reality. HP also has a $329 headset available for preorder.

Comments closed
    • elnad2000
    • 3 years ago

    And yet, there is still NOT a good VR headset made for Sim Racing. I don’t understand why no company ever develop one since Sim racers can drop thousand and thousand dollars on equipment, but yet, we are stuck with HTC Vive or Oculus Rift with bad resolution and controllers/functionalities we don’t need.

    I tried an HTC Vive in iRacing and it was fun as hell, but so expensive and the resolution is not very good. We just need a headset that feel good when you turn your head left/right and look up or down. But they always develop headset for stupid rollercoaster or weird games where you feel horrible for moving around with a controller.

    I hope this Acer could be good, but another standard yet again that games will need to develop so it will take years before I can just go around tracks quickly.

      • Entroper
      • 3 years ago

      The Rift and Vive ARE the good headsets for VR racing. I know my iRating got a big boost when I started using the Rift. You don’t have to buy Touch if you don’t want to, you can get the Rift standalone for $499 now.

      I think you’re making perfect the enemy of awesome. The resolution and FOV are the very best they could start mass producing over a year ago. It will get better before you know it.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        Project C.A.R.S on the DK2 was kind of horrible for me. I haven’t tried it with a Vive or CV1 to be fair, but I spent a lot of time looking at the apex of distant corners and the resolution wasn’t there on the DK2, not by a country mile.

    • RdVi
    • 3 years ago

    I’m glad that the headsets are cheap and offer a higher resolution, but LCD…. no thanks.

    I’ll be waiting for a higher res OLED equipped headset before entering the VR marketplace.

    • DataMeister
    • 3 years ago

    I vote we stick with the term Augmented Reality. Mixed Reality gives the impression of being jumbled or bad or mixed up.

    Autmented Reality on the other hand says here’s reality enhanced with extra data. Or perhaps another option is Enhanced Reality?

      • EzioAs
      • 3 years ago

      It’s formerly known as Holographic. I like that better.

      • psuedonymous
      • 3 years ago

      The really silly thing is: these are MR HMDs in the traditional academic meaning of that acronym: Mediated Reality. Because for AR use, they capture and redisplay an image rather than use a view-through display.

      They got the right acronym, but shoved the wrong words into it.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 3 years ago

    LOVE the Daft Punk-vibe headset and the disco controller is just fab, but where’s the content? I haven’t followed HoloLens too closely, but have the impression (quite possibly false) that it’s lagging (in the lacking an important feature sense of the word) behind in entertainment applications?

    Also: RGB LED or GTFO!

    EDIT: Added “Also: RGB LED or GTFO!”

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      And what major titles are there for the Rift/Vive?

      • LostCat
      • 3 years ago

      HoloLens is still a developer product to my knowledge. It has its uses, but there hasn’t been a consumer release to release entertainment applications to.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    Race to the bottom. Same thing that plagued PC laptops for so many years. How cheap can you make something before consumers turn away.

    Yes, Rift and Vive prices are too high for widespread market adoption, but you have to give them credit for sticking to their word of providing the best possible user experience that today’s tech allows for.

      • DoomGuy64
      • 3 years ago

      higher prices =! better. You could probably make and sell these things for $200 if it was completely made in china. $400 is what all of them should have been selling for, especially if they were interested in mainstream adoption.

      I honestly don’t think the big name VR people are trying to get mainstream adoption. Both Oculus and Vive are targeting the rich snob crowd who buys Titan SLI rigs, because they know the profit margins are massive and they currently have a lock on the market. As soon as real competition comes in, everyone will have to drop prices.

      edit: Another reason to think big VR was targeting rich people is because only high end cards are really capable of playing VR well. 1440p @ 90 fps pretty much requires a 1070 or greater, which means whomever buys into it can certainly afford artificially high prices. Once mid-range cards are capable of VR, cheaper headsets should appear on the market.

        • LostCat
        • 3 years ago

        My 290 aces VRmark, even back on my A10-7850K.

        There’s no chance of me paying more than $400 for any of these.

          • Voldenuit
          • 3 years ago

          VRMark is not a useful indicator of VR performance.

          For that, you should look at [H]ardOCP’s benchmarks and statistic on dropped and reprojected frames across a wide range of VR games. Sadly they don’t test the 290, but I doubt it would requit itself.

        • slowriot
        • 3 years ago

        Your definition of a “rich” person seems to really off. None of the people I know who own VR headsets, Vive or Occulus, are rich. They’re running 1070 or 1080 single card systems, again not some rich bar that must be met.

        Also, it seems absolutely that so far the cheaper the hardware the less impressive it is. I think that’s a major issue as the Vive and Occulus are in my opinion the bare minimum of quality that provides an acceptable VR experience. I think they’re really riding that edge too and it really shows. They’re all poor long term investments,

        But none of this hardware business matters. VR biggest issue by far is software. They haven’t even solved movement yet. Basic mechanics of interacting in the world are still very, very shallow and constantly expose the limits. And then unpredictably, not so much price, keeps people away. A greater portion of just the general gaming population would be more willing to buy if they felt comfortable the headset will provide a high level of service for 3-4 years and that’s mainly a software/industry concern.

          • EzioAs
          • 3 years ago

          [quote<]They're running 1070 or 1080 single card systems, again not some rich bar that must be met.[/quote<] Depends on where you live mate. 🙂 [quote<]VR biggest issue by far is software. [/quote<] Yeah, I can get behind this.

            • slowriot
            • 3 years ago

            We’re talking about the pricing in what amounts to a few hundred dollars over entirely unnecessary things like gaming PC components and VR headsets. I may be going out on a limb here but I don’t think anyone posting here regularly about such an issue is living in one of those places/situations.

            • EzioAs
            • 3 years ago

            Like I said, depends on where a person lives. Some of us may be tech enthusiast and avid TR reader but doesn’t mean a few hundred dollars is cheap. 🙂

            1070 and 1080 ain’t cheap where I live. 1060 /480 is already about the price of a PS4.

            • RAGEPRO
            • 3 years ago

            Think again.

            • slowriot
            • 3 years ago

            Two people…

            A: Can afford budget gaming PC hardware, complains about a VR headset being a $200-$300 too costly.
            B: Can afford mid to upper end PC hardware, bought the VR headset at $200 more than person A finds acceptable.

            These people are MUCH closer in financial position than when person A calls person B “rich” warrants at all. And frankly I think you all 3 completely disregard what availability of credit could mean to person B, person B could in fact be in a very poor financial position.

            IF person A’s environment is such that where say $30K a year puts a person in that population in the top 1% then person A is “rich” using their own usage of the word against B.

            So again, the way DoomGuy64 uses the term “rich” is just silly. He’s not in a life situation where he’s concerned about where the food will come for tomorrow but about when VR headsets will get a bit cheaper……..

            • RAGEPRO
            • 3 years ago

            I can barely even parse your post; I have no idea what you’re trying to say. I don’t know what DoomGuy64 was saying either. I’m just saying, this comment:[quote<] I may be going out on a limb here but I don't think anyone posting here regularly about such an issue is living in one of those places/situations.[/quote<]is inaccurate.

            • slowriot
            • 3 years ago

            That statement is made within the context of DoomGuy64 and EzioAs comments. If you didn’t follow their posts or mine then why in the world are you commenting, vaguely, on that statement? That makes zero sense. “Such an issue” = specifically complaining about the price of a VR headset being a couple hundred more than they’d prefer. Or do you really think there are posters here who regularly complain about a VR headset being just a bit too expensive that are living in poverty? I don’t.

            • RAGEPRO
            • 3 years ago

            That sorta depends on your definition of “poverty”. By US federal government guidelines I am below the poverty line, well below. Yet I have VR-capable PC hardware, and, yeah, if a Vive was $400 instead of $700 I totally would have one right now.

            I don’t know what relative comparisons of wealth have to do with the fact that there are people with VR-capable PC gaming hardware for whom a $700 one-time purchase is too much money. If I were to make a purchase like that I legitimately WOULD be struggling to buy food the next week.

            • slowriot
            • 3 years ago

            Yes to clarify, when I say poverty I do not mean the how the US government defines it. Having grown up in an environment where virtually everyone was below that line I really struggle to call that type of living “poverty” in the context of the world. Reality is if you’re posting here, have a gaming PC, ready access to the Internet, etc. your basic needs are being met comfortably.

            That said… if you followed the conversation you’ve basically proved my point. The only difference between the way you’ve described your financial situation and a couple people I know of with a Vive/1080 systems is your (apparent and IMO good) restraint on using credit to buy frivolous things. Or in some other cases yes they’re making good livings but absolutely not remotely qualified to be rich.

            • RAGEPRO
            • 3 years ago

            Well, the difference is that there’s no way I could get the aforementioned credit, even if I wanted to. If I don’t have the cash, I’m out, done, period, heh. Anyway, “rich”, “poor”, and so on are all about context. Fact is, “a few hundred dollars” is make or break to some people, including some people on this site. Like I said—if the Vive was $400 (just “a few hundred dollars” cheaper), I’d have one. But it isn’t, so I don’t.

            I don’t know the guy so I don’t intend to speak for him. But, when DoomGuy64 says he thinks that the current VR market is targeting “the rich” I don’t think he means Elon Musk. I think he means people for whom nearly a thousand dollars in discretionary spending is no big deal. That certainly isn’t limited to “the rich” but it’s far from common.

            More than half the US makes under $30K a year. Those people can’t just blow over $700 on a whim, on an impulse, and yet at $400 many of them probably could. That’s the difference that will make or break VR adoption, and I think what DoomGuy64 is driving at is that, since the headsets are priced out of reach for commoners, that implies that these companies are not overly concerned with mass-market sales yet.

            • slowriot
            • 3 years ago

            You think in terms of impulse buying when you should think in terms of budgeting. The difference between $400 and $700 on a frivolous entertainment product should be about “is this going to take 4 or 8 months to save for?” and not “when I be able to fit in a sudden $400 purchase in this check?” And no duh DoomGuy64 isn’t thinking of Elon Musk, that’s my damn point, he’s thinking people who make what… $45K a year as rich. And at this point I think you’d be really surprised just how many people making $30K year or less who spend a lot on this type of stuff.

        • DataMeister
        • 3 years ago

        They are basically still in the prototype stage even if they are selling publicly. You don’t want 100 million customers and then realize you have a design flaw where 50% of them start breaking after a year. So with that in mind you keep the price higher, have fewer customers, and a better buffer for the warranty if something bad happens.

        You are also more likely to get technology early adopters who are used to figuring things out on their own, so you won’t get as many support calls asking why the unit doesn’t work because they didn’t plugin the external sensors.

        Gen 2 and especially Gen 3 should be pretty good from a price perspective.

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