Microsoft got our hopes up when it said that Steam support was headed to its mixed reality platform, only to later clarify that it would not be ready for launch. That's a bummer, but on the bright side, it might not be a long wait—Microsoft announced at a cozy press event in San Francisco that its mixed reality platform is now open to Steam VR developers (opens in new tab). This will be followed by a preview program open to consumers this holiday season.
The announcement is a bit of a big deal, at least potentially. For one, this is the first time we have been given any kind of a timeline for Steam support, rather than assuming Microsoft is nowhere close. And secondly, with Steam being the most popular destination for buying PC games, this could be the shot in the arm mixed reality needs. It certain gives Microsoft some street cred.
As we reported earlier, several mixed reality headsets are now available to preorder, with prices starting at $399. That is slightly less attractive following the price cuts to both the HTC Vive ($599) and Oculus Rift ($499) this past summer, but save for mobile implementations like Samsung's Gear VR, the cost of entry is lower than it has ever been.
All that said, we will have to wait and see what the standout game will be, even with Steam VR brought into the fold. At present, the best selling VR game on Steam is Job Simulator. After that, it is Arizona Sunshine, a zombie apocalypse survival game built from the ground up for VR.
Valve is obviously excited where things are headed.
"The introduction of Windows mixed reality headsets is also a big step forward for VR. Working with Microsoft to include Steam VR compatibility with these devices is also a big step in growing VR as an open platform for developers and consumers," Valve programmer Joe Ludwig said (opens in new tab).
How this will all affect current VR headsets (Rift and Vive) is both interesting remains to be seen. PCGamesN makes the argument that "up until recently, Windows mixed reality seemed to be a VR-lite product." Depending on how things shake out, Microsoft's mixed reality platform with Steam VR support could shake things up in a big way.
If you have half an hour to spare, here's more from Microsoft on its mixed reality push: