Windows Mixed Reality platform - that's virtual reality to you and I - will be getting access to Steam's VR games starting November 15th, Microsoft tells Glixel.
Specifically, Windows Mixed Reality's SteamVR preview program, which is currently open to developers, will open up to anyone with Windows 10 and when of the currently five available Mixed Reality head-mounted displays.
The SteamVR bridge essentially shuttles people from Windows 10's virtual reality Cliff House to Steam's own virtual reality home. Once there, players can try out any of the SteamVR games they own with mostly good, but occasionally mixed results. The goal is to eventually make all games behave as they should, but Microsoft is still working through the occasional issue, so this is essentially an open beta.
Earlier today, I had a chance to try out SteamVR using Samsung's $500 Odyssey HMD and was impressed with how it worked. Once I was inside Steam's single-room virtual reality home, I was able to pop up a wall-sized, sortable menu of all of the Steam VR games and simply click on one to launch it.
The experience is made all the better by the fact that I was trying it out on the Odyssey, which seems to be one of the top of the line MR HMD's currently available.
The Odyssey features twin 3.5-inch AMOLED screens that deliver a 110-degree field of view. Those lenses deliver 1440x1600 resolution per a screen, which translates to more than 600 PPI. There's two built-in microphones designed to operate a bit like the Kinect microphones, using a phase array to cancel out unwanted noise and deliver solid sound. The built in headphones are made by AKG and deliver 360-degree spatial sound. And the headset features a 4 meter-long cable.
Because the headset is part of Windows Mixed Reality platform, that means it has six degrees of freedom and inside-out tracking. Put another way, the headset knows where you are without you needing to set up any sort of external trackers or cameras. There are also two controllers which track hand movement and feature an array of buttons, sticks and pads, including a touchpad, thumbstuck and enlarged button on the grip to track squeezing.
Most importantly, though, is the software. As with all Windows MR set-ups, you simply need to be running the latest version of Windows 10. While there are only about 60 VR apps and games native to Windows MR, the inclusion of SteamVR delivers most of the best titles currently available.
No word on when Microsoft expects SteamVR to go from open beta to fully polished.