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Microsoft to Phase Out Windows Mixed Reality Platform

Article Summary

The End of an Era for Windows

has signaled the end for its (WMR) platform, with plans to discontinue support that could render Windows VR obsolete. This move comes after years of the giant's ambitious foray into the market.

A Brief History of Windows VR

Back in 2017, Microsoft made a swift entry into the VR landscape by collaborating with PC manufacturers to launch the first PC VR headsets with inside-out tracking. Alongside these devices, the Windows Mixed Reality platform was integrated into the Windows operating system, offering a seamless experience with features like a virtual desktop system.

Missed Opportunities and Market Struggles

Despite initial strides, Microsoft's VR venture faced challenges, notably a lack of effort to attract VR developers, resulting in a sparse app store. This lack of content drove users to Steam, allowing the gaming platform to capture the revenue that might have gone to Microsoft. Additionally, the Windows VR headsets were criticized for their bulky controllers and subpar tracking capabilities.

HP’s Efforts and the Inevitable Decline

It wasn't until 2020 that HP introduced an improved controller design, but by then, the damage was done. Now, Microsoft has officially announced the deprecation of the Windows Mixed Reality platform, with a future Windows update set to remove it entirely, including the Mixed Reality Portal app and related SteamVR integration.

Uncertainty for Current Users

Although Windows VR headsets are not the most popular, an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 are still actively connected to Steam monthly. The exact implications of the platform's deprecation are unclear, with questions about the continued functionality of the headsets and the availability of software downloads post-support.

Microsoft’s Next Steps and the Competition

As Microsoft plans to shelve its VR efforts, the tech community is left wondering whether this will be another misstep similar to the Zune, especially with competitors like 's on the horizon. We have reached out to Microsoft for further details on the future of Windows VR headsets.

Final Thoughts

The looming discontinuation of the WMR platform has sparked concerns among users, but the notion that existing headsets would cease to function seems unlikely. The tech world awaits Microsoft's next move as it navigates the consequences of its decision.