At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today, Microsoft detailed its roadmap for mixed reality. These are some big ambitions: mixed reality is coming to the Xbox, and an Acer mixed reality headset will ship to developers soon, albeit with a bit of delay.
There was, however, a change that went unnoticed because Microsoft wasn’t kind enough to formally announce it. Windows Holographic is now known as Windows Mixed Reality.
In fairness, we missed this change as well – the signs were already there. In January, Microsoft changed the Windows Holographic section to Windows Mixed Reality with the Insider Fast Ring Build 15019.
Today’s announcements are a lot less subtle: There isn’t a single mention of ‘Windows Holographic’ in Microsoft’s announcements.
A Microsoft spokesperson whom OnMSFT managed to get a statement out of said that the ‘Mixed Reality’ name is “encompassing of the company’s broader vision for the platform,”
In short, the Redmond giant has bigger plans for the platform, and the term Holographic wasn’t quite accurate. That’s not wrong: these headsets have nothing to do with holograms, after all.
The change also takes these headsets further away from Microsoft’s HoloLens. The $3,000 mixed reality headset does not have anything to do with holograms either; the ‘Holo’ moniker might have confused a few people. HoloLens is also not a consumer product, and Microsoft doesn’t plan on releasing another HoloLens for at least the next couple of years.
Microsoft’s plans beyond what it has detailed today remain a mystery. If the Xbox One or Project Scorpio is to support these Mixed Reality headsets at some point, then that might require another subtle change.
The name ‘Windows Mixed Reality’ implies that it is for Windows, which wouldn’t fit well with the Xbox crowd.
But then again, Microsoft has never really been great with names. Time will tell what they manage to make up when these headsets finally find their way onto the realm of Xbox.