Windows Mixed Reality to support Steam VR games

Steam has gone all-in with VR(Virtual Reality) technology, as founder Gabe Newell emphasised on multiple occasions. However, the number of VR ready games are still low and out of reach of most people, as they require fairly powerful hardware to run effectively. It is worth noting that Steam has made a massive headway in AR(Augmented Reality), demonstrating their capabilities at this years The International DOTA2 Championship.

Windows Mixed Reality is really just VR with a dash of AR to enhance the experience. It employs the same mechanism as other VR technologies, with a lot of sensors and a VR ready headset doing all the legwork. Some of the Windows Mixed Reality headsets include the Samsung HMD Odyssey, Dell Visor and the Acer Headset, all of them priced at around the $400 mark.

SteamVR was developed in partnership by Valve and HTC, with HTC supplying the compatible headsets namely the HTC Vive. Valve has been experimenting with multiple tracking systems over the course of the past three years, ranging from machine vision cameras to fiducial markers. The final product relies on laser emitting base stations, named Lighthouse by Valve, which makes contact with sensors around the Vive headset.

The idea behind the cross-platform compatibility is to open up the options for the users, allowing them to use Windows’ virtual reality cliff house with Steam’s virtual reality home. It also allows users to use VR headsets of their choice, now limiting them to the HTC Vive, which was the only device supported by Valve until now.

All you really need for the integration is a PC with an Intel Core i7 processor, Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 or higher graphics card and a compatible VR headset. Microsoft is working to optimize the feature for a wider range of hardware, but at this time, the recommended specifications are the one mentioned above. For more details, you can check out the Microsoft website on how to use Windows Mixed Reality with SteamVR.

 

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