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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  • Lunaria - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    This was the update that made me go back pre-creators update. I am done with them for now. It must be the first time they messed up DX so much, all because of some placebo game mode, some useless game bar and what the hell is that new feature that they added about cheaters gonna do? I sent them feedback about it, and pointed out how clunky it is, how much frame drops I am getting after it and how "disable fullscreen optimizations" or adding game mode toggle in the settings panel and then hiding that same toggle from us in this update is just terrific. They already messed up plenty of things. Sure your games alt tab faster in fullscreen exclusive mode... who cares if they don't run properly? I am on version 1151 build whatever, some February 2016 one. Immediately changed the update server IP so I do not get updates. Leave me alone. If they want to market gaming as a thing, they should go back to their origins and take their stable DX core, reduce latency even further, implement low profile recording with minimal impact and most importantly ask users if they want to use those features or even worse if it goes bad again, those "features". They improved it, yes, but it doesn't even come close to the smooth heaven that gaming before it was added was. Not to mention the creators tools that most people do not need. The Settings menu is getting populated slowly with useful and not so useful information, but it is nothing impressive and I doubt it will ever be. Microsoft if you get only 10 people to test your features, you will recieve better and more valuable feedback than pushing those things to users who will find a way to disable and not use them because you forced them to do so. Give us back what we love and don't Telemetry on us or force us to use Windows Defender, thank you. Reply
  • bill44 - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    Whatever happened to Windows 10 Color Management?
    WFCU supposed to bring in stage 2 improvements to color management, but looks like it's been left out.
    Wide COlor Gamut support is useless without it.
    Reply
  • Lunaria - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    Not to mention they reset my gamma settings all the time. Reply
  • Icehawk - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    Let me know when they figure out how to make W10 not bork a good % of my machines when upgrading, super annoying having to rollback and have wasted an hour. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Stick to win7 and maybe get a xbox one for those games that are win10 exclusives? Reply
  • Lolimaster - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Nothing else justifies having win10 for productivity. Reply
  • marvdmartian - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    No doubt! At least flash something up on the screen, letting me know that you're pushing an update, and installing it. That way, I'm not suddenly dealing with a crippled machine, that is spending so much of its resources installing a bunch of (mostly useless) "new & improved" apps, and wondering why it's not doing what I want it to do?

    At least you got a notification of updates, with previous versions of Windows. W10, you're not sure, until you finally get so frustrated, that you reboot....and only THEN get the "Please wait, installing updates" message.

    My 2nd favorite part of W10, is the apps that they don't want you to uninstall....even if there's no chance in hell, that you will EVER use them! Because, who doesn't want a bunch of crapware, clogging up your OS, right??
    Reply
  • Apple Worshipper - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Windows sucked and will continue to do so. iOS is the undisputed future while iPads will be the one and only true form of mobile computing going. All others are not even worth speaking about Reply
  • Marburg U - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    And, as ALL the previous updates. This gives out the "interactive windows station" error, on half my computers. Another great job. Probably it will take me 4 days to reformat everything (AGAIN). Reply
  • Glock24 - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Another change I noticed is that that air now using more of the "modern app" control panels. For example, when you right click the network icon and select "network and sharing center" you her one of those new control panels, which I personally dislike. The one good thing though is that it's now possible to set any network as "public" or "private" in the new network control panel

    Another change I noticed is on the task manager. It now shows GPU usage and also shows multiple GPUs where it applies.

    I've not seen any of the new "Fluent Design". Is that only for " modern apps"? If so I'll never see it, as I uninstall all of those as I find them very annoying.
    Reply

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