Microsoft's budget Windows VR headsets roll out to developers soon

The rollout of the developer kit begins this month in the form of the "Acer Windows Mixed Reality Development Edition headset". So far the experience has been pretty much limited to the PC, but in an announcement on its Windows blog, Microsoft has revealed their plans to bring mixed reality content to its gaming platforms as well. The headsets are supposed to stand out from the crowd because of a lower price and their support for "inside-out" tracking that uses sensors on the device to determine a user's position, rather than relying on external trackers to gather that information. We're unifying the mixed reality ecosystem around a platform that enables shared experiences and interoperability between headsets.

"We're also excited to share Windows Mixed Reality experiences will light up on other devices over time, beyond desktop and Microsoft HoloLens", Microsoft said in a statement.

As announced past year, Microsoft has partnered with manufacturers including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo to produce Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

A lucky few developers will be able to get their hands on a low-priced Windows virtual reality headset starting this month. The Acer unit uses two 90Hz 1440×1440 panels - totally opaque, unlike Microsoft's HoloLens, which has a transparent visor to overlay images over the real world.

Microsoft is planning to bring mixed reality to the Xbox One as well as its forthcoming Project Scorpio console.

Game developers interested in getting their hands on the hardware can sign up for the ID@Xbox program. Companies could also offer virtual tours of showroom floors. On Wednesday at the Game Developers Conference, Microsoft delivered on that promise, announcing that Windows Mixed Reality devkits will start shipping later in March.

  • Arturo Norris