Expect First-Party Gaming Titles For Microsoft's Mixed Reality HMDs

After the dust settled a bit on Microsoft's mixed reality announcements at Build, we were left pondering whether devices like the Acer and HP HMDs were going to be primarily for productivity or for gaming, and if the latter is a focus, how that will work, exactly. We’re still unclear on that answer, but we know part of it: First-party Microsoft games are coming to the Windows Mixed Reality platform.

Microsoft has not officially confirmed that it's making games for these HMDs, but inferring from numerous conversations we had at Build, we can say with confidence that it's happening. (Also, it only makes sense that Microsoft would do so.)

We don't know which first-party titles are coming, though, nor if there will be new franchises or if we’ll revisit the likes of Halo, but in VR.

...Or in “mixed reality,” as the case may be. Further discussion about Microsoft's terminology is another topic for another day, but it's important to touch on here because it informs the type of games we may see.

For example, if we're talking about seeing games for a device like the Acer's $400 HMD-plus-controller bundle (and indeed we are), we can expect the game to be a VR title, in the vein of the ones we’ve seen for Vive and Oculus. The same game wouldn't run, most likely, on the HoloLens, because although they share a platform, they're significantly different devices.

It's our understanding that first-party Microsoft “mixed reality” games will for now be aimed at VR devices like the Acer and HP headsets. In effect, that means that at least in some capacity, Microsoft wants its headsets to do battle with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on the gaming front. It certainly helps that the WMR-based headsets will have both gamepad and motion controller options now.

The above statement opens a Pandora’s Box of questions, though, including:

-Whether or not we can expect third-party titles for Windows Mixed Reality (and from whom)-What PC specifications you’ll need to run these games -Whether or not VR game devs will port their games from Oculus and SteamVR to Windows Mixed Reality-Whether or not Oculus and Valve will offer a UWP version of their platforms (which is a requirement for Windows Mixed Reality), which could negate the need for devs to it themselves for each and every title-Whether and to what extent OpenVR, VESA, and OpenXR will make any of the above possible

We expect to learn much more at E3, which takes place June 13-15.