Microsoft threw down the gauntlet in the VR world last year, forcing existing manufacturers to react quickly to an onslaught of inexpensive yet capable competition all at once. What didn't really accompany that hardware wave was any measurable volume of software unique to the Windows Mixed Reality platform. Put plainly, WMR without Steam VR attached is downright dull in its current form. Microsoft has a lot of great ideas here, but the list of things people actually want to do in these headsets without Steam VR is terribly slim.
There's another way to get great games in your WMR headset, and it's something I hope this community adopts for several reasons. It's called ReMixed, built to let you play Oculus Rift games in your Mixed Reality headset as though natively built for that platform. Before you get mad, hear me out.
It's been a long, long time since Microsoft has had an exclusivity problem on Windows. Back in the day, we had games that would only work if you had an Nvidia-branded graphics card among other absurd shenanigans. Those days are long behind us, right? It turns out that's not the case, thanks to Oculus.
There are some amazing Oculus Rift games out there, built exclusively for that headset and only available in the Oculus Store. These games were built with funding from Oculus/Facebook and can't be sold through Steam VR or the Microsoft Store or even Viveport, because they are exclusives. Oculus treats the Rift like a platform all on its own, instead of an experience for all VR headsets like you see on Steam VR. It sucks, especially since Oculus initially claimed the Rift platform would not be exclusive in its Kickstarter. When its audience reacted negatively to the Oculus Store being totally locked down, the company relaxed restrictions enough so other companies could support Oculus games. It's inconvenient, and no hardware company has opted to go this route for good reason, but there's this small software team stepping up to offer support.
ReMixed is made by the people behind ReVive, also known as LibreVR or CrossVR. The goal is to make Oculus games playable on other headsets, and so far the ReVive project has been incredibly successful. ReMixed aims to do the same with Windows Mixed Reality, supporting these headsets directly instead of using the more generalized mechanisms in Steam VR. It's not universal support for all Oculus Rift games, but ReMixed keeps a list of what games are supported and how well each game works so you can make the best decision regarding the games you add to your library.
Bottom line — you get access to some of the best games in VR today. Through that, you as a consumer win.
Using your voice for future games
One of the coolest things about the VR industry right now is how closely developers and publishers are listening to the audience. Some teams are taking advantage of Early Access in Steam VR to get as much feedback as possible before making a full launch, but many others rely on forums and sites like Windows Central for feedback. This has a lot to do with the current size of the VR ecosystem, which is positively tiny when compared to something like Xbox gaming, but a lot of this has to do with how new these VR experiences are.
Being a part of the conversation right now matters because you get to help shape the games being played right now with your voice. If you have thoughts on teleportation as a movement mechanic instead of traditional thumbstick movement, you get to be a part of that conversation with the developer. If you want games that take advantage of larger playspaces instead of just standing still and waving your arms, you get to be a part of that conversation. It's a unique level of consumer empowerment, and a lot of the experimentation in VR right now is happening in these Oculus Rift games.
By supporting ReMixed, you get to be a part of the larger conversation in the continuation of VR game development. You get to point at specific experiences and ask other developers to offer that other thing you really liked. This not only gives newer Windows Mixed Reality developers a better idea of what experiences excite this audience, but it also shows Oculus-only developers just how hungry WMR users are for these ideas. You may be buying a game from the Oculus Store, but the end result of your feedback will be both more and better experiences for Windows Mixed Reality.
Give it a shot
CrossVR has a Patreon campaign right now for ReMixed support, including payment options that allow you to test features and improvements as this system is being built, and I highly recommend you give it a shot. There are options available for gamers and developers alike, with plenty of communication options so you can really be involved in bringing these great experiences to Windows Mixed Reality.
If you've got the cash, give these people your support. The end result will be a better VR platform for everyone, and you'll be on the bleeding edge of some really cool new experiences. And no, before you ask, I wasn't paid by them to write this. I just really like cool VR.
I use remixed and it works well, I've only had one game where it told me I needed to have a rift to play it but all the others work well, I still see most of the top games in steam that are on oculus store and even some of those in ms store.
I don't believe anything will change with this and the exclusivity that many vendors are trying to achieve. Competition is great but the way they are going about it feels as if it's segmenting us from each other - it's the same with phones, music, movies, books, games, and tv.
Either way VR/WMR is awesome and mostly affordable and I can't wait to see what the future holds for the platform because it's pretty awesome already.
Well, depending on what you qualify as 'content', the Microsoft Store does actually seem to have quite a bit of content. If your metric is game-centric, then obviously game-centric providers like Steam or Oculus Rift hold the lion's share. For me, I'm extremely particular about my gaming and VR use in general. I only play on PC and I only play first-person. VR, for now, caters to that. But I'd also argue that volume doesn't necessarily mean quality, and I personally find most of the VR gaming content across the board to be boring, half-baked or just plain annoying. Even much of the content for Oculus. With that said, efforts like ReMixed go a long way to breaking down barriers that remove variety and choice, and I think it's an important effort. Personally, because of my extremely selective preference for gaming, I would rather see more effort in making the non-gaming aspects of VR significantly better. As WMR is currently implemented, I find it almost completely unproductive for non-gaming. The whole "CliffHouse" approach is anti-productive, in fact. I don't need an "entertaining" virtual-walled environment to walk around in. What I need is a completely unlimited canvas upon which to place my productivity apps. For example, when you first spin up SteamVR you are in a white, circular, domed room with simple grid lines arranged to create the illusion of distance, perspective and curvature. Ultimately, it gets replaced by a similarly useless Steam CliffHouse. But it's this "staging room" that I find much more appealing. I would be fine with having SOME customization options for such a room (e.g., wallpapers, etc), but NO WALLS. Having a completely open three dimensional space to put various apps up, unhindered by walls, tables, or whatever ridiculous virtual construct, is the MOST productive environment. THAT is what I wish Microsoft would do.
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