Microsoft’s surprise new VR headsets, revealed last week and expected to ship next year, remain something of a mystery right now, but we should find out more about them in December.
Speaking to Polygon, Microsoft HoloLens chief Alex Kipman revealed that these headsets will be further detailed at two WinHEC events, one of which runs from December 8th – 9th in Shenzhen, China, the other held from December 14th – 15th in Taipei, Taiwan. According to Kipman, specs like field of view (FOV) and display resolution will be revealed at these shows. We’ve reached out to Microsoft to confirm that this is the case.
WinHEC shows are developer-focused, and these two events will be give “directional guidance for building PCs optimized for a variety of Windows Holographic HMDs and content.” We wouldn’t expect them to be livestreamed.
Kipman did tell the site that the devices, made by Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Acer and HP have a “high” FOV, though it’s impossible to know if Microsoft’s definition of the word matches the level seen in both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. He also reiterated what we already knew; the devices are connected to PCs via a wire and each features inside-out six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking. As expected, he confirmed that this has been achieved with the same tech used in the HoloLens.
“Nobody in the world has this,” Kipman said. “This is HoloLens technology.”
The company has also lowered the spec requirements to use these headsets, with Kipman suggesting that $500 PCs will be able to run them. With the headsets starting at $299, you can expect the all-in cost to be around $800. Back at Connect, however, Oculus also revealed a $499 PC that would work with its Oculus Rift. These new headsets won’t support games that run on Rift and Vive out of the box, but porting those experiences over should require “minimal” effort.
As for possible support for Project Scorpio, Microsoft’s VR-ready upgraded Xbox One console? Microsoft still won’t give a definitive answer, but Kipman certainly makes it sound like a possibility. “At E3 this year we said that Scorpio is VR ready, that’s because it’s that same Windows platform, it has the same Windows Holographic bits,” he said. “Our vision for the longest time has been one operating system with a single universal store, with a single universal development platform.”