For the first time, Microsoft was able to announce a Windows Mixed Reality device that’s finished, defined, and shipping to consumers: Acer’s Mixed Reality HMD will ship in a bundle with the mixed reality 6DoF controllers, all for $400.
We’d previously pontificated that this device would retail for about $400--but we were actually wrong about the overall price when you consider the curveball of the motion controllers, which we didn’t account for. Microsoft had previously pegged the low end of the mixed reality HMD price range at $300, and considering that the Acer device has a mix of higher-end and lower-end features, we presumed that it would cost more. Indeed it does--but only because of the motion controllers. In other words, we were right, but for the wrong reasons. The Acer HMD dev kit is only $300.
This announcement is a Moment for Microsoft, with a capital “M.” For all the lack of definition early on, quibbles about nomenclature, and still-curious absence of HMD announcements from several key OEMs, this is confirmation that Windows Mixed Reality is real. The platform works. There’s a device that runs it. And consumers can buy it before the year is out.
Microsoft’s grand plan is not so much about engaging hardcore gamers in the way that Oculus and HTC have done; the company is intent on changing the way we compute day to day. It wants its mixed reality HMDs to become an indispensable productivity tool for now, and they want it to eventually become your PC.
However the mixed reality future shakes out, whatever the level of adoption, and whatever the hardware becomes, Microsoft can circle this date on its calendar of achievements.