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Microsoft will distribute Windows Holographic developer kits at GDC 2017

Why it matters to you

Windows Holographic brings a mixed reality device at a much lower price than its competitors and the kit will let developers get started on making the required apps

Windows Holographic is an interesting piece of the overall Windows 10 puzzle. It’s essentially an application programming interface (API) providing mixed reality (MR) — virtual reality (VR) combined with augmented reality (AR) — functionality that developers can tap into when writing Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps.

While Windows Holographic is best known for the HoloLens AR solution, Microsoft also announced a new set of MR and VR headsets at its Windows 10 Creators Update event in October. These new headsets will come from Windows original equipment manufacturers like Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft is setting the stage by releasing a developer kit at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March, MSpoweruser reports.

More: Windows Holographic will be on your PC by the end of 2017

The Windows Holographic headsets will provide a lower cost of entry into VR than systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, starting out at around $300 and requiring lower overall systems specifications. The headsets will also support MR, which includes the ability to map an environment and incorporate it along with VR elements.

By releasing a developer kit at GDC, Microsoft will give developers a chance to start working on UWP apps before the public gets its hands on the devices sometime after the release of the Windows 10 Creators Update. Along with its generally improved support for 3D, Creators Update is required to utilize the upcoming Windows Holographic headsets.

Microsoft provides a brief overview of what is coming at its Channel 9 video site. Windows Holographic will represent a much easier entry into the company’s MR vision, with a significantly lower investment in cost than HoloLens but with many of the same features. Getting developers on board early seems like an important first step┬ábecause the availability of UWP apps utilizing MR concepts will make or break Windows Holographic in the market.