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November 9, 2017

Windows Mixed Reality is about to have a Big Bang moment with SteamVR support

by John_A

The library of content for Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headsets is slated to explode when SteamVR support is officially added to the platform. Although there may be some incompatibilities considering the differences in hardware, WMR headset owners should then have access to all of the same games and experiences as HTC Vive users.

With its blend of support for both augmented and virtual reality, the WMR platform has the potential to be one of the most all-encompassing reality-bending systems out there. However, at this stage, its content is somewhat limited — just 61 virtual reality apps by RoadToVR’s count. That is all going to change in less than a week.

On Wednesday, November 15, a public preview of SteamVR integration will be released, making it possible to dive headfirst into virtual reality titles like Thumper, Rec Room, Serious Sam VR and many more of the best HTC Vive games on Steam.

This is all possible because SteamVR is designed to be an open standard that is gradually finding acceptance among hardware other than the headset and tracking system that Valve helped develop with HTC. We’re already seeing the trackers find usage in all sorts of exciting accessories.

For WMR  users, this is a big step though. In one fell swoop, it solves the chicken and egg content problem that has plagued augmented and virtual reality headsets since their inception. Without content, nobody wants the headsets and without headsets, nobody wants to make the content for them. With the entire SteamVR library at its disposal, suddenly the WMR platform looks much more attractive to consumers.

Once it starts making money for developers, it, in turn, will seem well worth porting your game to that hardware, or even crafting custom experiences that leverage mixed reality’s unique characteristics for something different.

This public preview should be pretty seamless too, as it’s been tested by early access developers for a while now. That said, this public preview is still being considered a beta, so users looking to jump on the bandwagon should be aware that it may not be perfect.

While this preview will debut on November 15, the final launch date for the finalized SteamVR support has not been announced yet.

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