Everything you need to know about Windows Holographic VR

Coming along in the Creators Update for Windows 10, Microsoft is putting a big emphasis on 3D creation. As part of those efforts, the company announced that the holographic computing platform leveraged by HoloLens will be dipping its toes into virtual reality with Windows Holographic VR.

So what does all of that mean for you? Here's what we know so far.

So what is this "Holographic VR" business anyway?

From what Microsoft has shown, Windows Holographic VR will enable an experience that lands somewhere in between virtual reality (like Oculus Rift) and augmented reality (like HoloLens).

Will Holographic VR run on a headset, then?

Yes! Just like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, you'll have to strap on a dedicated, enclosed headset to check out the Windows Holographic VR experience.

Okay, so what makes this different from other VR and AR headsets?

According to Microsoft, headsets made for the Windows Holographic VR experience will pack sensors for what is called inside-out tracking. That means that headsets used with the Windows Holographic VR experience won't rely on any external tracking systems, unlike the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

With inside-out tracking, you'll also be able to place virtual objects onto the world around you, much like you can with HoloLens as well. However, unlike HoloLens, the Holographic VR headsets look to be totally enclosed, projecting the experience onto a screen inside the headset.

Can I use the Holographic VR headset without a PC?

Right now, it looks like the headsets work in tandem with a Windows PC. At the moment, it's unclear if you'll be required to be tethered to the PC for this to work, or whether the experience is completely wireless. However, we should know much more soon.

Who is making headsets for Windows Holographic VR?

Microsoft has announced that a number of partners, including HP, ASUS, Lenovo, Acer and Dell will be making VR headsets for the Windows Holographic VR experience.

How much will they cost?

Headsets will start at $299. That's a pretty big deal considering the the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive cost $599 and $799, respectively.

Awesome! So when can I get my hands on one?

It's unclear when the headsets will be available, but the experience relies heavily on the upcoming Windows 10 Creators update. We should learn more as the update draws closer to release.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Terry Matherson lost alot of weight, congrats. I bet he feels better as well.  
  • Myerson
  • I think the important question for most of us is. Does it support VR gaming like other VR headsets? If so, what games? Another important question is, perhaps the most important. Can I watch VR Porn on it?
  • and if so, can it warn you when your mum comes into your room?
  • Go into the windows store and look for apps that say they work on holographic hardware. I'd imagine that's what they run
  • It's just a screen, so I would be surprised if the answer to both aren't "yes".
  • It's Windows 10.  Almost ALL the VR being developed is for Windows 10.  So it will run almost everything and will integrate nicely with Xbox.  It will most likely NOT run the "ghetto VR" rubbish targetted for too low-power, too low-resolution "smartphone" headsets like Samsung Galaxy Gear VR.  I don't think many people will care about that.
  • Will the Alcatel Idol 4 pro VR headset be compatible with any of the upcoming VR software?
  • how can you tell its a "pretty big deal" comparing to rift and vive when you dont even know what they actually sell you for that 299$?
  • The cord to plug in your 500 dollar headset.
  • That was an uninspiring presentation.
  • I kept on nodding off
  • Here's hoping that it'll be compatible with the Xbox Scorpio.
  • So, HoloLens are dead with new Holographic VR?
  • Exactly.  Just like Ferarri will be killed by the new Volkswagon.
  • So if this is going to be a mix or say oculus and hololens does this mean the Hololens will be done or will it be released at a later time? This seems different then what I was expecting, I thought Microsoft was going forward with the Hololens but seems like a step back to VR already out (just better but not as good as Hololens). Possibly I'm not understanding as well. Also they just showed edge with Hololens a d that was awesome, I want consumer Hololens lol.
  • Well first of all, VR and AR are very different. Microsoft specifically made hololens because they want to focus on AR, but it's more than just the hardware. They made windows holographic as a platform so it can run on any AR or VR type of headset so that they aren't necessarily losing out on either side. In this case, Microsoft is partnering with OEMs to pick up the VR side of things and they're just calling it windows holographic VR. I believe that the lower price point and partnering with OEMs and it will help push VR/AR further into the mainstream, and concurrently allow Microsoft to continue to work on hololens independently without worrying about missing out on VR.   This is my understanding, feel free to correct me if I'm incorrect about anything!
  • Your awesome! Thank you for the explanation, I understand better now :) and this was my hope.
  • What I understand is that having a device that can do VR and AR and being cheaper than Hololens could mark the second one's dead. Unless you don't want to have a screen in your eyes or don't care about VR. Hololens might have some hardware advantages but in my opinion, if you have a VR/AR set for 300 bucks and other just for AR for 3000 bucks, ¿Which one probably would be marking and end? That's what I see, mate.
  • I dont think you can compare the prices at the moment though, Hololens is a dev kit and is priced high on purpose, like all dev kits. The AR/VR will be consumer released at $300.
  • I'm sure it won't have to power of the Hololens.
  • HoloLens (mixed reality) is targetted predominantly to professions (medical, architecture, design, education, etc) while VR is targetted mostly to gamers and entertainment.  Different markets.  Different products.  Different prices.  Over the longer term Mixed Reality/Augmented Reality will simply replace VR and a single unified platform will be created.  However, the ONE thing to note very clearly is that all the VR/AR/MR devices and software on the market are 100% Windows 10 based.  It is already too late for Apple who still haven't even reached the starting line.
  • The information about this is too vague. A VR device with a $300 price tag should be pretty interesting, but there's so little information that makes you think maybe it can't do many things traditional VR can do. I just hope I'm wrong and it's really a killer of current generation VR.
  • I think you'll find that all the "traditional" VR devices are already Windows 10 based. With the exception of the pathetic "ghetto VR" that uses Samsung phones as screens.  Even these require Windows 10 for development.  In a year or two Windows VR will be the "traditional" VR system.
  • Not sticking up for Samsung but Samsung VR is made by Oculus and imo isn't ghetto lol. I wouldn't buy it though, was waiting for Hololens, but I guess I will wait for more information on the AR/VR.