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Microsoft’s VR Kit to challenge Google Cardboard for entry level VR dominance

Nobody is quite sure which headset and what games and experiences will truly catch on in the world of VR, but there’s one near unanimous opinion: It’ll be the affordable one.

While Oculus and its watchful parent Facebook have pledged to make the Rift as economically viable as possible, a different tack with the likes of Google has been using people’s smartphones, pressed into a cardboard shell with some lenses. That’s clearly a tack Microsoft agrees with; despite championing augmented reality (AR) with its Hololens headset — which will be here sooner than you might think — the company has been showing off its own VR headset on the sly, a product called the VR Kit.

There was no official announcement for this project, but it was shown off as part of the website promotion for an upcoming Russian hackathon (hat tip to Paul Thurrott for finding it). Information is therefore light on the ground, but we do have the above image, which appears to show a Lumia smartphone inserted into a cardboard frame, just like Google’s Cardboard gizmo. Power it on and away you go!

Related: Noon VR: Another smartphone-based VR headset enters the fray

The accompanying text also suggests that Microsoft’s “kit” will also include templates for certain aspects of VR coding, as well as tools for use in the creation of games and experiences to help developers get started. Early content created for the VR Kit may well be shown off at the upcoming hackathon, which will have several categories for prizes including corporate apps, games, and education.

Anyone wishing to sign up to the contest can do so, though being able to read Russian may be a necessity for those that want to really delve into the rules.

What will be interesting is whether Microsoft officially announces the kit at the event, and if it will detail pricing or release information for the general public and other developers. Presumably, with its cardboard design, it may be available for people to print off at home for free.