Microsoft's Mixed Reality headsets are getting SteamVR support – and Halo

Big news: Microsoft has announced that its Windows Mixed Reality headsets will support SteamVR content

The first headsets, due to arrive during the Christmas holiday season, will run SteamVR experiences, which are already supported on top-end headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift

HP, Lenovo, Dell and Acer will each release their own Windows Mixed Reality headset along with motion controllers later this year. Bundles start at $399 (about £310 / AU$505), Microsoft said today. 

But the content news doesn't stop at Steam. Microsoft also announced it's working with 343 Industries to bring Halo VR to Windows Mixed Reality. 

Details are thin on the ground as to what these Halo experiences will entail, but this is a major get for the newest VR platform, if an unsurprising one. Minecraft, too, is making its way to Windows Mixed Reality, as spotted in this video:

A new way to VR

Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality journey began with the unveiling of the augmented reality headset HoloLens in 2015, and it's since expanded to include affordable headsets from different hardware partners. 

Following developer edition releases of Acer and HP's mixed reality head-mounted displays (HMD) earlier this month, we're now a short time away from the first of these headsets going on sale to the public. 

Dell has already announced a bundle for its Visor HMD, one that costs $459 (about £360 / AU$580) and includes controllers. The Dell Visor on its own starts at $360 (around £280 / AU$450). 

Microsoft says its goal with Windows Mixed Reality is to democratize VR by allowing various hardware partners to build devices at different price points. 

Importantly, the headsets arriving later this year will feature built-in sensors, eliminating the need for external sensors and letting you take the headset and compatible PC (i.e., laptop) anywhere. PCs for Windows Mixed reality start at $499 (about £385 / AU$630), Microsoft said.

Microsoft also announced today it's breaking the requisite PCs into two categories: Windows Mixed Reality PCs and Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs. 

The first category consists of laptops and desktops with integrated graphics. On this tier, headsets will run at 60 frames per second. 

The Ultra level is made of laptops and desktops housing discrete graphics. Headsets plugged into these machines will run at 90 frames per second. 

Microsoft is laying the groundwork for the first wave of Windows Mixed Reality headset releases later this year, and content is a crucial part of the effort.

It's encouraging to see the company line up solid content offerings like Halo and Minecraft along with Steam for the HMDs, and we can expect even more game and hardware news to be announced before long.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.