Microsoft is launching 'affordable and easy-to-use' mixed-reality headsets

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Microsoft regularly uses Halo as a selling point for its technology (see: the original Xbox), and that's definitely true in the virtual reality era. Developer 343 Industries, the studio responsible for overseeing Halo, has previously created demonstrations for the HoloLens augmented-reality headset that is still in early testing at Microsoft.

Ahead of IFA 2017 (starts this Friday 1 Sept) Microsoft has provided an update about what Windows Mixed Reality (VR & AR) hardware and software to expect in time for Xmas. They'll also be able to mirror the headset's picture on-screen so that bystanders can watch what you're seeing in VR.

Microsoft says that existing high-end VR headsets are neither easy to setup, nor affordable.

Windows Mixed Reality bundle will include a headset and motion controllers and HP, DELL, Lenovo, and Acer will launch the PCs, with minimum specs required to run it, later this year. HTC has recently announced a permanent price-cut for the Vive; the Oculus Rift is even more affordable.

Microsoft says Mixed Reality Ultra PCs, "consist of desktops and laptops with discrete graphics". Providing PCs purpose-built for mixed reality could help build user Interest.

The Steam integration is notable because of Valve's major role in PC gaming, and its own partnership with HTC on the Vive virtual reality headset.

Asus has put quite an emphasis on design here, with the Mixed Reality Headset looking very nifty with a 3D polygonal pattern on the visor itself - and that visor can be flipped up conveniently, for when you want to come back into the real world.

With that all said, are you excited for the new Halo VR game or does it seem like a disaster in the making? In addition to the MR-supported apps that will reside in the Windows 10 store, the headsets will also have the ability to play titles in the Steam store.

Sean appears suitably impressed by the button-strewn devices, which offer precise control over objects in the Windows Mixed Reality environment, particularly when used in pairs. But I am, of course, curious to see how things develop. Microsoft has, and the ease of use that results is probably the clearest differentiating factor it has from the broader competition. It, too, was connected to an Acer Mixed Reality headset, but instead of controllers, I get a single Xbox controller.