Microsoft's VR Plan May Hit GDC

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Steve Anderson
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Microsoft's VR Plan May Hit GDC

One of the first major game conferences in a typical year is the Game Developers Conference (GDC) event, running February 27 to March 3 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. This isn't always as exciting as E3 tends to be, but it can still deliver insight. This time around, the insight in question features a look at Microsoft's VR plans, or at least those that could show up down the line.

The current reports suggest Microsoft will have Windows Holographic developer kits at the GDC event, and word is these kits will be working with a slate of inexpensive headsets, similar to those shown at CES by Lenovo.

Microsoft has kept its VR plans quite quiet so far, especially when it comes to the application programming interfaces (APIs) involved. What has slipped out so far, meanwhile, has delivered some very notable points. One of the biggest is that the hardware required to run Windows Holographic is actually less than that required to work with an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive.

Headsets will be able to offer different resolutions under the system, including 1080 x 1200 and 1440 x 1440. Refresh rates will go all the way to 120Hz, which tends to provide a better overall experience.

The new holography system builds on that already established by the Hololens, Microsoft's earlier release in the VR field. Just how is as yet unclear.

This could be a welcome proposition for Microsoft; while it's been behind the eight ball in terms of VR releasing, it may be worthwhile if it can offer a package that works with more current systems. The biggest drawback to many VR systems currently on hand is that it calls for some pretty meaty systems, systems often beyond those currently in homes. If Microsoft's works with the lower-end systems, suddenly it's made a real opportunity to break into the market and position itself as the go-to option, letting inertia work for it and keep users in the Microsoft camp.

Still, it depends on what actually comes out of this; the lag between standard systems and Oculus / HTC will only last so long, and those who don't take advantage of that lag may ultimately fall behind those familiar titles geared toward more powerful systems.

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