Update, 12/14/17, 8:24am PT: The massive sale has ended. However, the fact that this sale occurred at all may point to the fact that Microsoft (and/or its partners?) is willing to sell these things for much less than they've been listed for. We don't know how much it costs to make these HMDs, but we presume that at $200, they're selling at a loss. We also presume that Microsoft, not the hardware partners, is eating that cost. It's no secret that Microsoft needs to show strong sales of these headsets this holiday season; it certainly hoped that this sale would goose those numbers.
Original article, 12/13/17, 10:40am PT:
Microsoft steeply discounted Windows Mixed Reality headsets from Acer, Dell, HP, and other companies in its online store (opens in new tab). A few of the headsets are now sold out, but several remain available for purchase, so now might be the time to take the plunge on Microsoft's attempt to popularize VR.
Windows Mixed Reality debuted alongside the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in October. Manufacturers released the platform's first headsets at the same time, with prices ranging from around $399 to $499. This sale cuts those prices down to $199 for some headsets and $249 for others. Samsung's Odyssey headset, the priciest of the bunch, is the outlier; it received a mere $50 discount that brought its price down to $449.
It's not hard to guess why Microsoft decided to run a sale on Windows Mixed Reality headsets so close to their launch. It's the holiday season, and with all the buzz around VR and falling prices from mainstays like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the company probably wanted to give shoppers more incentive to buy into Windows Mixed Reality. Add in a "12 Days of Deals (opens in new tab)" promotion and you have a recipe for low-cost headsets.
Demand for these discounted headsets appears to be outpacing supply. Microsoft has already sold out of the Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset and Dell Visor. That leaves just the Lenovo Explorer, HP Windows Mixed Reality headset, and Samsung Odyssey at $199, $249, and $449 each. You might want to act fast; we wouldn't be surprised to see these headsets sell out shortly after their Acer and Dell brethren did earlier today.
You can learn more about Windows Mixed Reality in our previous coverage of the platform, including how to tell if your system is ready for Microsoft's stab at VR and how exactly these headsets differ.