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Microsoft to Launch Its Answer to PlayStation VR in 2018, With an Augmented Reality Twist

Microsoft is going to bring its Windows Mixed Reality technology to the Xbox next year. The company announced at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco Thursday that it will launch mixed reality content on the Xbox One, and the next version of the Xbox, code-named “Project Scorpio,”  in 2018.

Microsoft didn’t go into details about its plans for the game console; the company has said in the past that it wants “Project Scorpio” to be VR-capable.

However, the new announcement adds a new twist to this: Windows Mixed Reality is the technology that powers Microsoft’s Hololens augmented reality headset, as well as headsets from other manufacturers that combine augmented and virtual reality experiences.

Microsoft provided some additional details on one of those headsets this week. Acer’s Windows Mixed Reality Development Edition headset, which Microsoft is going to ship to developers in the coming weeks, combines a VR-headset-like display with external cameras for experiences that include both computer-generated and real-world images.

For the technically inclined: The Acer headset will feature two liquid crystal displays with a resolution 1440 x 1440 and a display refresh rate of up to 90fps, a headphone jack for audio and microphone support and USB 3 as well as HDMI 2 connectivity via a single cable.

For now, this headset has to be connected to a PC running Windows 10 to function. But in the future, consumers may be able to plug headsets like these into their Xbox game consoles to run augmented and virtual reality apps.

That idea is not new: Sony’s PlayStation VR headset is being powered by the company’s PlayStation 4 game console, and the combination of gaming and VR has proven to be a powerful one. Sony revealed a few days ago that it has sold more than 915,000 PlayStation VR units since the device’s introduction in October. That makes PlayStation VR the most popular high-end VR headset to date.

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