Windows Mixed Reality

One of the headline features of the Fall Creators Update is Windows Mixed Reality, which is the umbrella term Microsoft uses to describe any of their Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) features. Windows has a strong case for VR/AR, since the best experiences are going to require the brute compute power of a PC, and Microsoft was one of the pioneers of AR with HoloLens, but it has to be said, this market is completely in flux right now. VR hasn’t taken off as quickly as many would have hoped, although AR has made some inroads in the smartphone market.

As Microsoft often does, they’ve turned Mixed Reality into a platform, and that has had some immediate benefits. There’s now several VR headsets available from the major PC OEMs, hitting a couple of price points. Most of the headsets have resolutions of 2880x1440, with 90 Hz LCD panels, with the exception of the Samsung HMD Odyssey which is a 2880x1600 AMOLED headset. The headsets all include motion controllers as well.

With the power of a PC behind it, a Windows Mixed Reality headset should be able to offer some great experiences, but the biggest issue is the lack of use cases. Gaming is the obvious one, but VR gaming hasn’t really taken off yet despite the launch of the HTC and Oculus VR headsets.

AR does have some interesting use cases, and unlike VR doesn’t necessarily require a headset. Using the webcam on a device will allow the system to project images on the screen which appear to be in the real world, and this ties into the work done in Windows to support 3D animations and creations over the last couple of updates.

Overall, Windows Mixed Reality still needs to prove itself. The tech is still new, and we’ve yet to see any amazing experiences which necessitate the purchase and use of a head-mounted display. VR is amazing to use, but limited in usefulness, and AR is somewhat in its infancy. The idea of standardizing all of this is a good one, and having a consistent platform should help drive adoption, but the tech is simply too immature in the market to predict if this will be the next big thing in Windows, or just another small feature.

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  • Cryio - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    I like the few fluent design elements in Start and Action Center. But why doesn't the Taskbar has it?
    Why are most Win32 application chrome window full solid color, a la W8?
    Why does Edge get so few features when releases are either 6 to 9 months apart? Most other browsers seem to add a lot of features every 4/5 weeks. But not Microsoft.

    Anyway, Edge being faster/efficient/more reliable is a welcome improvement.
    Acrylic is nice.
    People is nice, if useless at the moment.
    Polishing Action Center is nice.
    Mixer improvements are nice.

    Aaaaand I still hate that Skylake on Surface Pro 4 at least limits CPU speed to 800 MHz when watching Youtube videos using Edge.
  • StormyParis - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    "The new pattern of a spring and fall (or fall and spring, depending on your location)"

    or Autumn ?
  • Zak - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    "anit-cheating" typo? On the "Gaming Updates" page.

    Also, besides bringing back some depth and transparencies there is zero in this update for me. Gaming Mode is something disable first. Leave my games alone Microsoft. Microsoft *does not* get PC gaming.
  • Bixx - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    You forgot the "feature" where many people's start menu won't work anymore or is missing most items. Over 400 people on the MS forum have this problem (which mean many more "out there" surely do too), yet MS hasn't even acknowledged the problem).
  • Gunbuster - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Or as I like to call it the creators update update.

    Someone at Microsoft now runs a team devoted to creating updates for creators update update.
  • jgeis - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    It's probably worth mentioning that there's a problem with clean installs of Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update (1709) where opening Edge browser causes the State Repository Service process to spike your CPU to 100% and essentially locks up the PC. You can get around this by installing another browser off a USB stick, but it's really annoying on a fresh build. Some other actions also seem to trigger it, as well.
  • B3an - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    You never go in to enough detail for these updates. Your articles always miss out loads of new stuff and changes. The only reason i visit this site is for in-depth articles, not "The Verge" level crap, minus the SJW shit.
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    B3an, was there something in particular you were looking for that you didn't see? We're still trying to figure out the right level of depth for these Windows updates, especially since they're not wholly new OSes, and a lot of feature information is published ahead of time.

    (None the less, this was still 6K word, 10 page article)
  • SkyDiver - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    How sad all of this is. The horror story continues ever since Win8. It still looks flat and dead. So many things wrong with this "operating system."
  • Lolimaster - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Isn't it funny all this "for the user" naming MSFT uses for Windows Spyware 10, each "fancy name" iteration breaks 5 more thing than the one it fixes.

    Windows 10 Fallen to the crapper edition.

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