Windows Mixed Reality

Microsoft is gearing up to release its next phase in the Mixed Reality spectrum, immersive headsets at reasonable price points with motion controllers. It's an exciting opportunity to explore MR in an affordable package, but before you line up to shell out for these Mixed Reality headsets you need to make sure everything else in prepared for this experience.

Here's what you need to do in order to prepare for Mixed Reality.

Set up a Playspace

You can walk around in Mixed Reality, but these VR-style headsets completely obstruct your vision, so to avoid tripping over the furniture or accidentally kicking the cat you need to make sure the space you intend to play in is clearly outlined. We call this the playspace, and the first thing you do when setting up a Mixed Reality headset is walk around the perimeter of this space to create a virtual boundary.

Pick a spot in your house where it's safe to walk around, or a space where you can easily move the furniture out of the way to play in. The minimum amount of space you need is arms reach in every direction around you. If you can reach out with your eyes closed and touch something, it's too close. Ideally, you wand enough space to take three or four steps in every direction, but make sure your playspace is at least big enough for you to not knock over lamp or punch the tv.

Make sure your PC can handle Mixed Reality

Whether you're planning on upgrading specifically to support the best Mixed Reality experience, or you're going to buy a new PC when you pick up a headset, it's important to know now what it takes to handle Mixed Reality. For the uninitiated, the minimum system requirements for Mixed Reality are:

  • CPU: Intel Mobile Core i5 (e.g. 7200U) Dual-Core with Hyperthreading equivalent
  • GPU: Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620 (GT2) equivalent or greater DX12 API Capable GPU
  • RAM: 8GB+ Dual Channel required for integrated Graphics
  • HDMI: HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 60Hz head-mounted displays
  • HDMI: HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 90Hz head-mounted displays
  • HDD: 100GB+ SSD (Preferred) / HDD
  • USB: USB 3.0 Type-A or USB 3.1 Type-C Port with DisplayPort Alternate Mode
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 for accessories

The great thing about these minimum specs are how many systems out right now which already offer this hardware. If you're looking to buy something new, there are some great laptops available to make your Mixed Reality experience portable. If you're looking for something a little more capable, you can always take a look at what it takes to build your own PC with Mixed Reality support!

Pick your Mixed Reality headset carefully

The most amazing part of how Microsoft is approaching Windows Mixed Reality is how many headset options will be available later this year. It's an incredible list of options, but they are not all created equal. Each manufacturer is going to offer a unique set of features to go along with the core features Microsoft wants in each headset, so it's important to decide if you want the absolute cheapest Mixed Reality headset you can buy or if there will be some features you are willing to pay a little extra for.

As more manufacturers announce the details of their headsets, be sure to take a look at all of the options!

I don't want to wait, give it to me now!

You don't actually need a Mixed Reality headset to start exploring Mixed Reality. All you really need is a PC running the Windows 10 Creators Update. If you have that, you can check out the Mixed Reality simulator and get a feel for the virtual house Microsoft has created with all of the home options available everywhere.

This experience is best had with an Xbox One controller for now, so be sure you have one nearby if you go to check it out!

How to use the Windows Mixed Reality Simulator!