Skip to content

Search the site

Microsoft won't get back to mixed reality

Microsoft has dropped support for its augmented reality system, signaling a major shift for the company and its vision of the future

Microsoft said it is no longer pursuing a key feature that had been a central part of its plans to eventually enter the VR space.

The Redmond software giant said that as of December of this year, Windows Mixed Reality would be deprecated and the features of the software would no longer be supported.

"Windows Mixed Reality is deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Windows," Microsoft told customers.

"This deprecation includes the Mixed Reality Portal app, and Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR and Steam VR Beta."

This after Microsoft tossed its hat into the augmented reality ring (that is VR without a solid background) opting to place artificial images onto a natural background rather than a fully computer generated field of vision.

The decision ends a six-year venture by Microsoft to gain a foothold in the VR/AR market. Launched in 2017, Mixed Reality was set to be a competitor to the likes of Meta and HTC.

While those companies have pressed forward with their plans to take augmented reality into the next level, however, Microsoft appears to be opting to tap out and killing off its plans for the space.

Hopes for Microsoft to make a push into the VR space were particularly high after the software giant splashed out $68.7bn to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard in move that many thought would foretell a push into the gaming space with an emphasis on VR.

That deal now appears to have been primarily a mobile-focused transaction.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's rivals are holding steadfast in their efforts to claim the AR/VR space.

Apple is said to be aiming for a Spring release for its "Vision Pro" augmented reality headset, while Meta continues to push forward with its own augmented reality gear.

Reports out of China suggested that Apple has already begun production for its enterprise-focused headset and would bring the hardware to market early in the new year.