On Thursday, Microsoft officially unveiled its Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers at the Build 2017 developer conference. The company has gone into dealings with a number of companies, such as, Asus, Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo, to sell these controllers on retail shelves.
If these controllers are paired with a dedicated VR headset, the combination will provide amazing experiences to users, ranging from entertainment, gaming, productivity and creativity. These controllers have been created as a comfortable and high-quality input device that has the same level of ease of use and portability as the headsets. Hardware must have its share of software. Hence, Microsoft has announced a Windows Mixed Reality development kit. The controllers are similar to the Oculus Touch controllers.
It also has similarities with the wands that come with HTC Vive. Each controller has a joystick and a trackpad. There are large rings at the top, a small menu button and a plus button on the side. There are lights inside the rings that track the user’s movements. Microsoft has not yet announced in standalone price for the controllers as the device will be initially available through partners only. The HP VR Headset is available for pre-order for US$329 and the Acer VR Headset for US$299 on Microsoft Store.
These headsets will ship later this summer. Acer is expected to offer a US$399 bundle that will include the VR headset and the new Mixed Reality motion controllers. Microsoft is working with a lot of partners to give Mixed Reality a boost. This is a wise move as Microsoft’s HoloLens is currently priced at US$3,000. As one can see, it’s an extremely expensive device and definitely not market friendly. The company needs a more affordable and palatable entry point for mixed reality devices.
The Mixed Reality platform is still untapped waters, and Microsoft has shown the courage to move into such waters. There are a number of risks involved. VR is still not that popular because of the high costs involved. Microsoft’s relatively affordable price points may change that.
“The motion controllers offer precise and responsive tracking of movement in your field of view using the sensors in your headset. There is no need to install hardware on the walls around you. We created the controllers as a high-quality and comfortable input device with the same ease of setup and portability as our headsets,” said Terry Myerson, executive VP of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, in Windows Blog.