Microsoft is set to make its move on the VR market later this year when it launches a range of headsets made in partnerships with other companies for its Windows Holographic operating system. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive may not embrace that new platform, at least not yet, but Microsoft won’t block people from using those gadgets, either.
Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow at the company, confirmed as much to UploadVR in an interview at the 2017 Game Developers Conference this week. We asked Kipman about the concerns that some people might have that Windows Holographic would block the two headsets in order to push its own devices. He labelled those concerns as “silly”.
“Let me address it. Facebook and Valve are great partners,” Kipman said. “Steam exists in Windows. They’re great partners of our ecosystem. We’re an ecosystem of making them successful. I can’t imagine a scenario where we install a windows update and disable partners that are successful on our platform. Even if there was some evil plan imagine what customers would say and we’re like a customer-obsessed company.”
The Vive and Rift will still be able to run through their respective applications when Windows Holographic arrives then, but whether they’ll ever fully support the platform and have access to all of the same apps that Microsoft’s partner devices do remains to be seen. Kipman said that both HTC and Oculus were welcome to work with Microsoft to integrate support into their devices, though both are a little different from the other headsets, using outside-in tracking systems instead of inside-out. It’s not clear if that could be a potential issue for the OS.
Windows Holographic headsets will be launching this holiday season for desktop. Yesterday, we got the first hands-on with a developer kit that will be shipping out to companies this month. Next year, Microsoft will also be bringing its mixed reality content to Project Scorpio, though if these headsets will support the console remains unclear.