Microsoft Mixed Reality headsets

At an event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Microsoft talked more about its ambition with mixed reality, giving us an availability date and pre-order info, a Halo mini-game, and an acquisition of a social app among other things.

Mixed reality headsets from the likes of Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung are now up for pre-order, with over 20,000 apps available to users the launch day of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. These include Abduction and Dreams of Dali from Inception VR, Space Pirate Trainer, Superhot, Arizona Sunshine, Luna, Skyworld, Move, Free the Night, Minecraft, and Fantastic Contraption.

On top of that, Microsoft has roped in 343 Industries to create a mixed reality Halo game in Halo Recruit, which serves as a “brief introduction into the world of Halo”. As with others, it’ll be available. It’s not a full-scale new game by any means, but rather serves to market Microsoft mixed reality vision.

During an early hands-on with a developer version of the Acer headset, for example, we were able to step into a digital room where we could sit at a digital desk and interact with Mixed Reality-enabled apps, including some of Microsoft’s own, watch videos on a big screen and more. The experience is a hair bizarre and all takes place while you move around a virtual apartment. It’s from here you can launch into other apps, too, such as games, which will probably be the main selling point for the headsets.

Microsoft has also been working with Valve to integrate SteamVR with its mixed reality headsets, and the company said that while developers were now getting access to see how their creations play out, consumers would need to wait till the US holiday period.

The headsets will vary in price starting at around $399, and you’ll need a computer that’s powerful enough to run them.

The social app that Microsoft has acquired is called AltSpaceVR, which allows virtual reality users to join 3D chat rooms to attend meetups, comedy shows, yoga classes, and dance parties. Altspace had actually planned to shut down towards the end of July due to problems with funding but was saved by Microsoft a few weeks later.

The news comes in tandem with a couple of other Microsoft announcements. AltSpace is now officially a part of Microsoft and helps provide all sorts of content ranging from virtual reality meetups to comedy shows and more, Microsoft said. Additionally, Microsoft is teaming with Steam to bring VR games to Windows Mixed Reality headsets