Virtual reality just got a lot more affordable. To date, if you wanted to get a high-end VR experience, you had to shell out upwards of $600 for either the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. Microsoft announced today (Oct. 26) that HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Acer will create their own VR headsets starting at $299. There's no word on when these devices will launch, but it's still an exciting development for VR.
Instead of each of the manufacturers creating their own proprietary interface, it appears each new system will utilize Microsoft Edge, which will feature inside-out six degrees of freedom interface found in Microsoft's HoloLens. That means that you can walk around a room without relying on cameras or laser sensors, which Rift and Vive currently use.
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The demo at Microsoft's press event began in a scenic house on the hill, where a person wearing the unnamed VR headset was watching a soccer match in a large window dedicated to the Microsoft Movies and TV app. On the opposite wall was a shelf with the Microsoft rep's favorite tabs including Skype, Paint 3D and Community. Next, we saw Microsoft Holotour, in which the Microsoft rep was quickly transported to the Pantheon in Roma, Italy.
It's an impressive demo, but a $299 price tag seems a little bit too good to be true. However, I'm hoping that Microsoft and its partners can live up to the company's lofty claims. On the mobile front, the $79 Google Daydream View is ready to take its place as the cheapest VR headset on the market in November. However, the Daydream View is tethered to either the Pixel or Pixel XL, which adds at least $699 to the final price. Depending on the specs required for Microsoft's VR headsets could give a Google a solid challenge for the most affordable crown.