Microsoft to phase out its Windows Mixed Reality Platform

Microsoft has officially announced the discontinuation of its Windows Mixed Reality platform. Launched in 2017 with VR headsets from Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung, the Mixed Reality platform has now been added to the list of deprecated Windows features, according to Windows Central. This move means that the Mixed Reality Portal app, which serves as the primary hub for users to customize their 3D environment using virtual desktops and to play apps and games, will be discontinued. Additionally, Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR, allowing users to run SteamVR experiences on Windows Mixed Reality headsets, will also be discontinued.

Despite Microsoft’s previous commitment to Windows Mixed Reality and HoloLens 2, evidenced by layoffs earlier this year, the platform has seen a significant decline in interest from consumers and hardware manufacturers, as shown by the lack of new Windows Mixed Reality headsets in recent years. The platform has also lost ground rapidly to other VR headsets, such as Oculus/Meta Quest and Valve Index, as indicated by the latest Steam hardware and software survey.

It’s worth noting that Microsoft has partnered with Meta to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming and Office apps to Meta Quest headsets this month, suggesting a shift in focus from Windows Mixed Reality to other VR initiatives.

The decline of Windows Mixed Reality comes at a time when Microsoft was heavily invested in 3D innovation, with the release of two “Creators” updates for Windows 10 and the introduction of apps like Paint 3D and Remix3D, which have also been deprecated. This trend reflects a broader pattern in the tech industry, with companies entering new markets and then withdrawing after a few years. The recent example of Meta’s investment in the “Metaverse” and Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro headset further underscores the ever-changing landscape of VR technology.

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