Microsoft plans to natively support virtual reality in Windows 10

Kareem Anderson

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft’s all-in-one operating system ambitions broaden a bit, after a few announcements were revealed during this years E3 conference. Much of Microsoft’s E3 press conference centered around the Xbox and how PC gaming would tie into the consoles future. As Windows 10 positions itself as the increasingly flexible OS, Microsoft pitched that PC, smartphone and Xbox One users should begin seeing more fluidity between features and gameplay. Where there was once a class-like divide among gamers, Microsoft is removing many of its dated self-imposed restrictions.

Microsoft also took out some time to briefly highlight what Windows 10 had to offer for the next frontier of gaming. Microsoft has been showcasing their investment in their new augmented reality headset, HoloLens, the Windows team has also been working behind the scenes to support virtual reality. Several companies are putting stock in virtual reality being the next entertainment platform, and Microsoft would like to be a facilitator rather than a competitor in the field. Currently, Microsoft’s hands are tied up with HoloLens, but the Windows team has built support in Windows 10 for Facebook’s VR solution, the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets, including HTC and Valve. Analysts and pundits have been debating over the past couple of years as to which form of ‘reality’ entertainment will see mass adoption. Fortunately, for Microsoft, if either were to take off, Microsoft and Windows would still be at the forefront of the conversation.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer sat down with Business Insider to discuss just Windows plans to support virtual reality.

  • Headsets will be supported “natively,” meaning that they’re recognized and accounted for by Windows 10. Currently, these headsets show up as monitors and must be calibrated to work with your computer. It’s a big hassle! Thankfully, this should help circumvent the hassle.
  • Since all these headsets require some form of body/head tracking, and they all solve that issue in different ways, Windows 10 will unify tracking. It’s not clear exactly how this will work, but it doesn’t sound like Oculus VR’s tracking solution (cameras) will stand in for HTC/Valve’s (lasers). Instead, it seems to be a solution for developers – one pipeline of tracking information across various headsets.

Once again, the seemingly newer regime at Microsoft has opted to support rather than directly compete with companies. Perhaps, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella’s history with cloud connectivity support is shaping the company’s new approach to conducting business. While it’s not as headline grabbing as a  Xbox vs. Sony story, support for various technologies on one platform is the mature approach where everyone wins.