Windows Mixed Reality needs a big playspace to work well. Here's how to set one up.

The very first thing everyone looking to pick up Windows Mixed Reality headset needs to do is make sure there's enough space around you to comfortably play in. These fully immersive VR-style headsets don't let you see the world around you, so there's a good chance you could walk into something or someone without a previously defined playspace. Trust me, it's not a pleasant experience.

In much the same way HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have the Chaperone and Guardian systems in place to keep you inside a playspace while enjoying VR, Windows Mixed Reality apps offer a boundary to ensure you're not using that "world scale" sensor on the front of the headset to crash into walls. Here's how you get set up!

Setting up a Windows Mixed Reality Boundary

The Mixed Reality boundary is part of the initial set up for any computer, and it couldn't be more simple. You tell Windows how tall you are, hold the headset at eye height so Mixed Reality apps can "find" the floor, and then walk around the perimiter of your open space so Windows knows where you can and can not play. When setting this space up, there are a few basic rules to follow.

  • Make sure there's absolutely nothing on the floor or hanging into the playspace.
  • If you are playing on an area rug, make sure it has a non-slip pad to keep from bunching and tripping you.
  • Ensure your boundary is at least six inches from walls and furniture to keep you from accidentally kicking something while playing.

Currently, Windows Mixed Reality asks you to have at least six feet of play area. This means you should be able to walk six feet away from your PC and have nothing to run into. You can get away with making the playspace a little smaller, but once you get into four feet of free space and smaller the app will start to give you errors.

Once you have created a boundary with Windows Mixed Reality, you'll be able to see it in your headset. If you walk within a couple of inches of the boundary, you'll see the array of dots appear and small glowing lines start to connect the dots into a grid. This subtle animation helps you confirm it's separate from the app or game you are playing, letting you know you're about to leave the safe play area you've created.

Boundaries with fully immersive headsets are an incredibly important safety measure to take, and Microsoft is doing the right thing by making this boundary so easy to set up. You don't require any additional controllers or sensors to make this work for large or small spaces, and once the whole area you play in has been set up once you will be able to return to it any time you pick up the headset. Enjoy!