Microsoft unveiled their new ‘mixed reality’ controllers. The new platform combines aspects of augmented and virtual realities. The new controllers bear a striking resemblance to competitors Vive and Oculus Rift.
The controller’s LED ring will work with the headset sensors to track movement without the need of any additional cameras or tracking hardware. The controllers are wireless and come with a trackpad, trigger, analog stick, menu and Windows buttons. Forbes reports the headset has two 1440 x 1400 displays, 90 Hz refresh rate, audio and microphone outs, and a single cable for HDMI and USB connection.
These are Microsoft’s first mixed reality controllers as previous demonstrations used an Xbox gaming controller.
The units are priced to compete, at just $399 for an Acer controller/headset bundle. Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo will also provide versions of the hardware this holiday. Acer’s bundle is available to pre-order now on the Microsoft Store.
To add confusion, Tom Warren from the Verge reported his experience with the unit as “…literally just virtual reality. You lift the visor to see the real world, but there’s no mixed reality here.”
The Acer headset appears to have cameras mounted on the front. Could these be used to overlay the real world for AR purposes?
Perhaps the phrase is more about branding Windows as the “only operating system created specifically and from the ground up for mixed reality devices”, according to Hololens Engineer Alex Kipman.
Microsoft appears to be chasing the business market with AR tech, a traditional strength for the company. Adding Mixed Reality could be a smart move to cover the more mainstream VR entertainment medium, as well as delving deeper into business application.
If they can deliver a similar experience to the Vive and Rift at a significantly lower price, they could grab a nice chunk of the market this Holiday season.
Microsoft is also planning to bring mixed reality to the Xbox/Scorpio in 2018.