Microsoft Corporation is back with a bang and without question the firm has reclaimed its innovative edge. The firm’s Oct.26 Windows 10 event was another opportunity to unleash its new spirit with the unveiling of new and innovative products. The Microsoft Surface Studio PC made its debut yesterday and the desktop is easily in a league of its own. Of course, the rumored Surface Phone was a no-show during the event but the Surface line is becoming fuller with the addition of the desktop system.
However, Virtual/Augmented reality is the new kid on the tech block and Microsoft’s new VR headsets easily stole the show during the event. The firm unveiled its plan to take VR to the mass-market with new VR headsets for Windows 10. This article provides insight into the long-term benefits of the firm’s decision to bring VR to the mass market.
Meet Microsoft’s $299 VR headsets
On Tuesday, we observed that Windows 10 and not Surface would dominate the stage during the Oct. 26 event. Turns out that we were right after all, the firm’s work in Hololens and 3D seems to be taking center stage for Windows 10. The firm has invested a ton in R&D to make its Windows 10 OS equipped with VR and holographic capabilities. Now, it wants to democratize VR by pushing the creation of cheap $299 VR headsets that will take VR to the mass market.
Microsoft ‘s new mass-market VR headsets are equipped with inside-out tracking sensors. Terry Myerson notes that “These headsets will be the first and only to ship with inside-out six-degree-of-freedom sensors… Unlike every other VR headset on the market today, this means there will be zero need for a separate room. Zero need for a complicated setup.”
The cool point to note about the new VR headsets is that they’ll most likely not need to be tethered and you’ll be able to interact with the VR world using hand gestures. The Redmond firm has equipped Windows 10 with a Windows Holographic shell that makes it easy to migrate into VR using a Windows 10 PC.
Microsoft is placing a huge bet on VR
The new mass-market VR headsets will further create strong links between Windows 10 PCs and AR/VR headsets in order to set up the firm as the top dog in the VR market. The $299 VR headsets are cheaper than rival offerings. For instance, Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive both start at $800. If Windows 10’s VR headsets can deliver the same level of precision as Oculus Rift of Vive, you can expect buyers to make their purchasing decision solely based on price.
Microsoft also wants to saturate the VR market with its VR product in order to control a large market share before rivals in the VR market starts making their products available. The firm has revealed that its OEM partners such as HP, Lenovo, ASUS, Acer, and Dell will start shipping out the $299 VR headsets.
The strategy of allowing OEMs build the VR headsets is the same strategy that Microsoft used to dominate the PC market when it focused on Windows OS while other OEMs built the hardware. However, the firm has started shifting away from that strategy with the launch of the Surface line and the firm has been doing an incredible job of merging software excellence with high-end hardware.