Microsoft Steps Up Move Into Virtual-Reality Market

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Microsoft today unveiled a key piece of its "mixed reality" VR ecosystem for Windows 10, debuting new motion controllers created to work with a coming range of headsets. The platform itself is baked directly into the Creators Update for Windows 10. Acer's low-priced entry-level headset will come with the controllers packed in in a $399 bundle. Microsoft announced the controllers during the keynote at its Build conference today, but did not demo them live onstage. The company announced that due to the wide interest, developers in the USA and Canada can pre-order an Acer ($299) or HP ($329) headset starting today from the Microsoft Store for delivery later this summer.

Microsoft, which spent years developing HoloLens [pictured above], the company's own take on an augmented-reality headset that projects images into the environment of the wearer, last year opened up a portion of the software behind that device to other developers. The HTC-Valve Vive costs $799, and Oculus's Rift retails for $599.

The controllers - which we haven't used - look a lot like the Oculus Touch controllers mixed with Vive controllers at first glance, with a thumbstick like Touch, a touchpad like Vive, and a wand-like design with a tracking ring on the end.

"Holiday 2017 is going to be phenomenal", said Kipman. As of now, capable controllers are the best way to use your own hands in virtual reality - a key step toward immersive, entertaining and useful VR experiences.

One final important thing to note is that the controllers won't work with HoloLens, according to a CNET report.

Although when it released the range of specifications for the Windows Mixed Reality HMDs, Microsoft mentioned that the platform would support 3DoF or 6Dof controllers, there was no further information.

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