Microsoft is killing its Windows VR platform — announces deprecation of 'Windows Mixed Reality'

HP Reverb Windows Mixed Reality headset on a desk
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has added Windows Mixed Reality to the list of features it is deprecating in Windows.
  • The company says support for Windows Mixed Reality devices will be removed in a future version of Windows.
  • This includes support for SteamVR using Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets.

Microsoft has announced that it is deprecating Windows Mixed Reality, with plans to remove the feature in an upcoming release of the OS. Windows Mixed Reality was Microsoft's attempt at building out a VR ecosystem for Windows PCs, but unfortunately this effort has been mostly inactive for a number of years.

While there have been several VR headsets built for Windows Mixed Reality, most of them launched between 2017 and 2021. It's been a long while since OEMs released new VR headsets for Windows Mixed Reality, likely because SteamVR is a much more successful platform with a much wider selection of games.

Unfortunately, Microsoft says the deprecation of Windows Mixed Reality also includes support for using a Windows Mixed Reality headset with SteamVR, along with the dedicated Mixed Reality Portal app which acted as a launch environment for VR apps and games built for Windows Mixed Reality.

HoloLens 2 is Microsoft's only surviving "Windows Mixed Reality" device, however even the HoloLens product has gone through turbulent times recently. It's clear that Mixed Reality at Microsoft is a dead venture, with HoloLens 3 being canceled and no current plans to ship a true successor. Even Xbox is uninterested in VR.

It's fair to say the writing has been on the wall for Microsoft's VR platform for many years. The company went all in on VR and Mixed Reality devices just 5 years, but has now given up on that venture. It's a shame too, because some of the Windows Mixed Reality devices were actually pretty good, and some made VR relatively affordable.

The HP Reverb G2 was the most recent Windows Mixed Reality headset, which got a surprising refresh in 2021. Outside of that, we've not had any Windows Mixed Reality headsets ship from any OEM since 2019. 

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads

  • ShinyProton
    Exactly what I suspected when I bought my Windows MR headset upon release - disposable technology for Microsoft disposable interests. They proved me right once again.

    No wonder the Windows ecosystem has been on this permanently downward spiral for years.
    This is getting so annoying...
  • HelloNNNewman
    MS is like a bored child. Excited about something new and all in, but then get up and walk away before the first basic picture is colored in with their crayons.

    It's like Monty Burns (Boooooo-erns) is running that place. Their employees must be 50% frustrated and 50% worried their department is the next to have corporate lose interest in. Thousands of hours of hard work by teams just farted away over and over.
  • ShinyProton
    Also, I wonder what is going to happen to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 & 2024.
    Many players bought the game/simulator for it's FANTASTIC support of Windows MR headsets.

    Looks like many will have to revert to the Steam version.
  • naddy69
    Three years from now, this story will be re-titled "Microsoft has added AI and Copilot to the list of features it is deprecating in Windows and will be removed from a future version of the OS."
  • HeyCori
    With the way the press reports on VR, the platform seems so much bigger than what it is. It's still a niche product. And while there's still good money to be made in a niche market, that pie doesn't have a lot of pieces. Despite HP, Dell, Lenovo, and others releasing VR sets, Windows Mixed Reality never gained any real traction. WMR seemed doomed from the start.
  • Jack Pipsam
    If it hasn't got the word "AI" in it, then MS doesn't seem very interested at the moment :/
  • daryl_ed
    Got into VR via the Hp Reverb G2 late 2019. VR games are soooo much more immersive than flatscreen, been only playing/buying VR games since. As windows as seen as the premier gaming system (Gaming PC is synonymous with Windows) its madness that native support for VR gaming is being removed, and even considering VR is growing. Come on Microsoft play nice with the gamers, at least open source WMR so that enthusiasts can keep it going!!!