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Windows Mixed Reality: Windows Mobile deja vu?

Brenda McViking

I have a HP WMR headset, coupled with a GTX 1070 laptop. The reason I bought it was because the laptop was £50 cheaper with the headset thrown in, so I'd have had to been stupid to turn it down. There *are* apps that allow it to be 'mixed' reality - i.e. those cameras on the front, show an image inside of what you're looking at, allowing AR with a VR headset. But, that feature is really not ready for prime time, and hence they didn't advertise it and instead have a stupid name. But this is Microsoft, so you all knew that...

I also haven't tried the Vive or Oculus rift, but plenty of the steam store games work with WMR, and they are a completely different experience to 2D gaming, it's a completely different league, and I would thoroughly recommend it.

Nonetheless, Microsoft don't help themselves - it is stupidly confusing as to what WMR even is, the treehouse (virtual environment that starts up when you put on the headset) has no way to link to Steam, and VR gaming is going to be THE critical use-case. The major advantage MWR has is the fact that there are no additional sensors to drill into walls. It's actually properly portable, requiring just the cameras and a 30 seconds setup in a new location.

None of this really matters though - having a PC to run VR is simply too costly. I paid £1300 for my system in December to replace a dying laptop, and being that you need a GTX 1070 or above realistically (it's gotta run 2880x1440 minimum at no fewer than 90fps to avoid motion sickness) - that's not mass market money, that's early adoption enthusiast money, and that market has to be nearing saturation as these things have been out for ages now. You'd have to be a monumental fool to buy a WMR headset over an Oculus when they're the same RRP. Not only that, you're in ethereum mining territory with GPUs that can handle VR, ramping the cost even higher.

The only way to resuscitate WMR is whether the xbox1X a) is due for compatibility, and b) has the horsepower to run it without causing Tarquin to spew. That, in my humble opinion, is an end of it.

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