Microsoft could leverage recent Altspace VR purchase to make WMR more social

Windows Mixed Reality Cliff House
Microsoft will be looking to shake off the gamer-focus of virtual reality with its Windows Mixed Reality platform by encouraging social interactions through users’ own “Cliff House.” The “home” setting that you’ll spawn into when you first enter Windows Mixed Reality will let you invite friends and hang out in future releases.

As much as reality-bending technology like the HTC Vive or Microsoft’s own Hololens have all the potential in the world for games, Microsoft is targeting new audiences with its Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) platform. At its recent WMR event, it showed off more of the Microsoft Cliff House, which users will spawn into. Making that a social hub is part of Microsoft’s ongoing plan.

Revealed at the show by Alex Kipman, researcher behind Microsoft’s Hololens headset, he said that the company’s recently acquired VR social platform, Altspace VR, might form a basis for that social transformation. He described it as a “good foundation” for the kind of interpersonal mixed reality platform Microsoft wants to build in the future.

He did make sure to head off any concerns that Altspace VR as it is would change following the purchase, though. “Altspace is going nowhere,” he said, claiming that everyone at Microsoft loved the community that Altspace had created over the past couple of years.

The name has started to appear in Microsoft branding and buzzwords though. In a follow-up statement, Kipman said (via Venturebeat):

“For me the killer app for mixed reality is Altspace communication, the communication fabric of being able to be with all the people you love in a family setting. Or as an employer, to be able to have my people be around the world in a physically present way without actually having to be physically present.”

That’s the social and office interaction that Microsoft wants to leverage with WMR. It wants to build a new generation of platforms and tools for those working remotely or from home, enabling them to work within a collected office environment, without the commute. He went on to describe Altspace and WMR as the “communication fabric,” for mixed reality (thanks, MSpowerUser).

That’s not to say Microsoft is forgetting about 2D though. One of the benefits of augmented reality over virtual reality is that a 2D app can be represented in a unique fashion in the real world. Microsoft will continue to support the development of 2D apps and Kipman said that it will support them across all platforms: Xbox, PC, Hololens and its mixed reality devices.


From the road to your wrist, see how Android has evolved over the past 10 years

Android started out as just a mobile operating system, but 10 years in it's pretty much everywhere. Check out our round-up of all the different Android variations that have cropped up so far, and what might be coming in the future.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Listen up! White noise device may make VR motion sickness a thing of the past

A simple device that sends white noise vibrations to the inner ear could be all it takes to fix the long-running problem of nausea in virtual reality. The developers are now seeking FDA approval.
Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.

Hololens 2 could give the Always Connected PC a new, ‘aggressive’ form

Microsoft is said to be leaning on Qualcomm to power its Hololens 2 headset. Instead of Intel CPUs, the next Hololens could use a Snapdragon 850 processor, allowing it to benefit from the always-connected features.

Oculus VR could upgrade the Rift with a new display in 2019

Oculus could be set to release a new version of its Rift headset in 2019, but it will be more of a modest upgrade than a true sequel. The Rift S, as its purportedly called, will have a new display, and inside-out tracking.

Google awarded patent for using eye tracking to detect expressions in VR

Google was awarded a patent that involves using eye tracking to infer facial expressions using machine learning in virtual reality. The tech could help make virtual reality a whole lot more immersive than it already is.

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Virtual Reality

Prototype Valve VR headset leaked: HTC Vive challenger confirmed?

Leaked images revealed that a Valve VR headset is in development, even amid Valve's partnership with HTC for the HTC Vive. Sources confirmed the device, which may be bundled with a Half-Life VR game.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

A Google patent shows a way to make VR even more immersive

Virtual reality can be a really immersive experience, but it does sometimes it does have boundaries. Google has addressed this problem by patenting shoes with a flexible region on the bottom.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.

Dive head first into the best experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist to it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.