From HoloLens to Hold-Ons: Microsoft Drops Mixed Reality Support

In the realm of Mixed Reality (MR) and Virtual Reality (VR), it has been quite some time since any notable updates have emerged from Microsoft. Previously, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty, in an interview with the media, remarked that the user base in this sector is not sufficiently large, and the demand is not as robust as anticipated, necessitating a wait for more players to enter the arena.

According to a report by The Verge, Microsoft has announced its decision to abandon the Mixed Reality (MR) features in Windows, with plans to remove them in future versions of the operating system.

Microsoft first introduced the Mixed Reality features in Windows in 2017, amid the Virtual Reality boom in the technology industry. Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox business, even went so far as to proclaim that Mixed Reality devices like HoloLens would represent the “ultimate destination” for VR gaming. Users could utilize the Mixed Reality features on PCs through compatible VR devices. In addition to Microsoft’s own HoloLens, other companies such as Lenovo, HP, Dell, Samsung, and Asus also launched products compatible with Microsoft’s platform.

Moreover, Microsoft has gradually been scaling back its VR department in recent times, which has, to some extent, impacted its Mixed Reality projects, including the now-discontinued AltspaceVR application. However, this does not signify Microsoft’s complete withdrawal from MR/VR research. The company continues to focus on other VR projects like the Mesh application and has not abandoned the HoloLens 2 headset, which is primarily aimed at the enterprise market. Recently, Microsoft has also collaborated with Meta, allowing Quest users to access Office applications and the Xbox Cloud Gaming platform.