Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality Is Being Discontinued

Microsoft has officially put an end to Windows Mixed Reality, marking it as deprecated and scheduling its removal from Windows in an upcoming release by December 2023.

Microsoft, Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft vr, Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality
Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality Is Being Discontinued

The company confirmed this move, stating “Windows Mixed Reality is deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Windows." This discontinuation encompasses the ending of both the Mixed Reality Portal app and support for SteamVR.

Moreover, statistics from the latest Steam hardware survey show that Windows Mixed Reality headsets accounted for a mere 5.18% of VR users on the platform. This percentage is significantly lower in comparison to the 40% using the Oculus Quest 2 and the 18.65% utilizing the Valve Index.

Back in 2017, Microsoft launched its Mixed Reality platform as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, expanding on the “holographic” features introduced with the Microsoft Hololens in 2015. Users could immerse themselves in a virtual environment, interacting with Windows apps and games via a VR headset.

Also, because the intention was always to allow you to view a combination of virtual and real-world objects and surroundings in the same perspective—much like the Meta Quest 3 or the future Apple Vision Pro can—Microsoft named the platform "mixed reality" rather than "virtual reality."

Microsoft, Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft vr, Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality

The HP Reverb G2, released in 2020, marked the last specific headset designed for mixed reality under the Microsoft umbrella. However, no new devices have emerged for the platform since then. Despite the winding down of its own VR headset platform, Microsoft still supports alternative VR headset platforms.

Even as Windows Mixed Reality faces its end, Microsoft remains committed to virtual reality. Recently, the company rolled out several popular apps to the Meta Quest 3. The beta version of Xbox Cloud Gaming debuted alongside the general availability of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the platform.

While Microsoft's 2015 stage demonstration of its VR vision is unlikely to materialize, many of the company's most significant products and services will continue to function in virtual reality. It simply implies that consumers will have to rely on third-party platforms, such as the Vive ecosystem from HTC or SteamVR from Valve. It's unclear, though, if those who already own a Windows Mixed Reality headset may soon find themselves stranded with a device that could become obsolete.

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