Microsoft announced its plans to expand the PC VR space during the Surface event last month; in the latest Fast Ring Insider Build 14971, Microsoft included the first version of Windows Holographic First Run App – the platform that will power the VR and AR headsets on Windows 10.
While Oculus has built its own platform and HTC’s Vive relies on the SteamVR platform – both of these headsets require extremely high-end computers to run most VR applications; Microsoft wants to lower this barrier and make VR more affordable.
The Windows Holographic First Run App – either by a lack of attention or on purpose – mentions the minimum specifications required for the Windows Holographic Shell. Here’s what the requirements are:
- 4 GB of RAM, at the least.
- Support for USB 3.0.
- A graphics card with DirectX 12 support.
- A quad-core processor – this requirement includes dual-core processors with hyperthreading enabled (and therefore four logical cores); this could be an error, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
These requirements have never been mentioned before – and the nature in which they have been revealed might mean they will be changed at a later point.
If the requirements stand true, however, then Oculus and HTC have some stiff competition to look forward to – with enough money to build a VR empire, Microsoft isn’t going to put a stop to it.
The concern still stands in regards to Microsoft’s VR ambitions – while Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive sell for more than $800, Microsoft and its OEM partners plan on selling their offerings at $300; it’s logical to assume that Microsoft’s VR offerings might be inferior, then.
If that is the case, then Microsoft’s move might bring VR to the masses – but the enthusiasts will stick with Oculus or HTC, as they would want the best of VR.
There’s a lot of things unclear about the VR headsets; Microsoft plans on talking more about Windows Holographic Shell and the VR headsets at the two upcoming WinHEC events from December 8th – 9th in Shenzhen, China, followed by December 14th – 15th in Taipei City, Taiwan.