Microsoft’s new OS, Windows Holographic, powers its impressive HoloLens headset, but it’s just opened itself up to other devices, including VR kits.
During its Computex 2016 keynote in Taipei, Taiwan today, the company announced that it would be allowing other companies to work with Windows Holographic in order to bring the OS to other devices. You might struggle to think of how the service might work with VR given its mixed reality (MR) focus, but it looks like it could already be working with the HTC Vive.
That is according to the above video, released by Microsoft this week. It shows two HoloLens users communicating with each other, with a third person seemingly joining them using the Vive. Though likely conceptual, there’s impressive cross-platform tech in the works here; one HoloLens user heads into a dedicated room, apparently using sensors to appear as a full model in front of the other user. Meanwhile, the HTC Vive wearer appears as a virtual body.
He’s able to call up a menu and select options with his hands – presumably with the help of Vive’s position-tracked controllers – and bring the others into a VR environment. They collaborate together to help design a stylish store.
Given the HoloLens’ limited field of view, and Microsoft’s previous overly-ambitious videos, we’re a little sceptical as to if this type of experience is really possible. That said, Vive and HoloLens communication was reportedly shown off on-stage during the Computex keynote. Windows Central states that the Vive was indeed running Windows Holographic, and that Microsoft has also partnered with Acer, AMD, Asus, CyberPowerPC, Dell, Falcon, HP, iBuyPower, Intel, Lenovo, MSI, Northwest, and Qualcomm to offer more VR content on the OS.
Notice that Oculus VR doesn’t appear on that list. That’s not too surprising given the Rift creator’s close control over its own ecosystem, though the pair have worked closely together in the past and are even rumoured to be working on an Oculus compatible Xbox One. Perhaps we could see that name added to the list in the future.
What’s not clear is if this means other Windows Holographic software could come to VR HMDs. We’d certainly welcome some games like Young Conker and services like HoloStudio to be available in VR, though there’s no comment on this possibility just yet.
Look for more updates on this pretty exciting development later in the year at the WinHEC conference.