Community Download: Will Microsoft’s Headsets Be Upstarts Or Afterthoughts For VR?

Microsoft is partnering with manufacturers like Acer, Lenovo, and HP to create a new line of virtual reality headsets. These devices will be competitively priced, at around $300-$400 each or less, but comparatively, as capable as the highest quality headsets on paper: the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Microsoft is relying on reduced price, easy cooperation with Windows, and a few hardware tricks to (hopefully) turn these newcomers into the mid-range of the VR market — a space that is currently sitting wide open.
However, despite the monolithic size and stature of Microsoft, it has never seen  a massive successes when it comes to PC hardware products. With that in mind, our question for all of you readers this week is this: Will these Microsoft headsets disrupt this industry, or will they go the way of the Zune?

Before giving us an answer in the comments below let’s take a look a closer look at these devices. Microsoft has mastered a form of inside-out-positional tracking through developing its HoloLens AR headset. The HoloLens can “see” and understand the world around it, to a certain extent, and this vision allows it to calculate depth and generate persistent, walkable virtual objects.
These new VR headsets are going to be using a similar technology. Unlike the Rift and Vive — which both rely on external cameras to determine your position in 3D space — Microsoft’s newcomers will bake its positional technology right into the devices themselves.
Early reports are indicating that the tracking for this inside out system is good, but not quite as good as having an external camera to do the heavy lifting. This will also be tricky for motion controllers.

Microsoft recently unveiled the hand controllers for its headsets. They will be tracked by the “eyes” inside the headset itself, alongside a few other bits of telemetric wizardry. It’s hard to say yet whether the headsets will be successful in tracking both themselves and these controllers and, as we all know, in VR you can’t work some of the time; things need to be perfect.
Alongside these innovative but risky hardware plays, there’s also Microsoft’s track record with consumer hardware to take into account. Unlike a certain fruit-named rival, Microsoft has never been terrific with designing, marketing and releasing its hardware. It has made some strides lately with its Surface line of products, but overall the odds are not in its favor.

Lastly let’s not forget about price. $300-$400 is certainly less than the Vive’s $800 price tag, but it’s still a significant purchase for the average shopper. There hasn’t been much talk about the must-have experiences these headsets will bring. They seem to be banking on price alone to drum up interest and divert customers from Facebook and HTC. This strategy could work, but those two have something these Microsoft products are sorely lacking: personality.
What do you think? Will these things be big hits or big flops? Let us know in the comments below!
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Source: Community Download: Will Microsoft’s Headsets Be Upstarts Or Afterthoughts For VR?