In Brief

Microsoft VR headset is on the way, says company

New device will undercut rivals and could be a major breakthrough in the world of VR

Microsoft has announced it plans to join the virtual reality race, with new headsets to complement the company's ongoing work in augmented reality. 

The company's investment in AR is well established thanks to the launch of the HoloLens, but the move into VR will be much more affordable and a lot more mainstream. The headsets, which will be compatible with Windows 10 computers, will be built by partners such as Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and HP and have a starting price of $299 (£245). 

That is noticeably cheaper than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive and even undercuts the £350 PlayStation VR, giving Microsoft device the potential to become the most affordable high-quality virtual reality platform yet. 

The headsets made brief appearances at the company's product launch last night, says The Verge, but it was enough to raise questions about how they'll actually work. 

A major selling point will be the "inside-out, six-degree-of-freedom tracking", which could mark a "legitimate breakthrough" for the VR industry as a whole. 

Put simply, some models won't require external tracking sensors to keep tabs on where the gamer is looking or moving; sensors built into the device will do this instead. 

This won't offer complete freedom of movement just yet – the headset at Microsoft's event was still wired to a PC. 

No dedicated controllers have been revealed and it's not known how powerful a PC will need to be in order to use the most basic headset, Microsoft has only said it will work with "affordable PCs and Laptops". Compatibility with the Xbox One and Xbox Scorpio is still unknown too. 

The first headsets will arrive in 2017. 

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