Microsoft to distribute first Windows Holographic VR developer kits at GDC

Microsoft and its hardware partners are gearing up to launch the first Windows Holographic VR headsets later this year, but it looks like developers will be able to start toying with the tech relatively soon. In a video posted to its Channel 9 developer site (via MSPU), Microsoft noted that the first Windows Holographic VR headset developer kits will be distributed to developers at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), which runs from February 27 through March 3.

As you may recall, Windows Holographic VR headsets are expected from a wide range of partners like Dell, Lenovo, and HP. As opposed to current VR headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, Windows Holographic VR headsets will offer a relatively low cost of entry (starting at around $300) and be able to run on lower-end hardware. Getting the dev kits into the hands of developers so soon bodes well, as there should be a decent number of experiences available for the platform by the time the commercial headsets are ready to ship out to customers later this year.

As for when commercial headsets will make their way out to consumers, that's still an unknown. The headsets will require the Creators Update on your Windows 10 PC to operate, so any release will have to follow in its footsteps. But that leaves a whole lot of 2017 open for a potential release date.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

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

  • This is interesting, though I never understood whether you'll be able to play commercial games with these.
  • it depends. It is apparently possible to fix a virtual window in space and play games like that, but something immersive would need to be specially written, like Oculus and Vive games.
  • Hopefully all headsets have dual cameras so that real environment can be captured and rendered -> almost AR ;) Will Minecraft work with Holographic VR sets? Do these low-cost headsets (or even high-cost ones) shift the image (or displays, like reverse OIS) inside headset to compensate movement roundtrip and rendering lag? That could eliminate motion sickness.
  • Hololens is very good at keeping holograms achored to real-world objects. It's not perfect, but it's mostly undetectable for casual head movements. They don't shift the physical display, but they (most likely) use prediction to guess where your head will be at display time to compensate for render latency. That's what Oculus and Vive do, so it wouild make sense for Windows Holographic to do the same.
  • I would imagine you'll be able to buy these by the next holiday season.
  • Much earlier than that
  • Well, today would be "by the next holiday season." :)
  • "Coming soon (tm)"
  • Curious, there is still no SDK....