Windows 10 update for VR may mean no upgrade for many users

Microsoft has revealed what kind of hardware you'll need in your PC to use the incoming lineup of Windows 10 VR headsets. This new focus on virtual reality was announced back in September, during the Windows 10 event that also revealed the Surface Studio. Though Microsoft did give us a starting price point for these VR headsets, many other details were notably missing from the reveal.

Today, by way of new Windows 10 test builds, Microsoft is revealing what kind of PC hardware you'll need to run Windows Holographic. It looks like you won't need particularly stellar hardware to use Windows-branded VR headsets. As a result, folks who want to get into VR without breaking the bank may want to give Windows Holographic a look.

These hardware requirements are found in a new app called "Windows Holographic First Run." Here is what's required: 4GB of RAM, one USB 3.0 port, a graphics card that supports DirectX 12, and a quad-core processor. The Verge points out that the CPU requirements can be met with a dual-core CPU with hyperthreading, which makes things even easier.

When you compare this list of specifications to those of Microsoft's competitors – namely Oculus and HTC VIVE – it becomes clear that Microsoft has built a rather strong advantage. Both Oculus Rift and HTC VIVE require some beefy PC hardware, which serves as a barrier to entry for a lot of folks. They also cost quite a bit more than the $300 starting price for Windows-branded headsets, giving Microsoft another leg up.

Windows Holographic looks to merge the worlds of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. Microsoft's current mixed reality headset, the HoloLens, it priced beyond what most average consumers can afford, so the lower price points offered by Windows VR headsets should work in the company's favor. These headsets should be arriving around the same time as the Windows 10 Creators Update early next year, while Windows Holographic is slated for launch sometime in 2017.

SOURCE: The Verge