Posted October 30, 2017 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature

PAX AUS 2017: Dell and Alienware are ready for a mixed reality future

Virtual reality has been well-known as the cutting-edge of gaming technology for the past few years, thanks to Oculus and the HTC Vive leading the way for consumer-available VR headsets. However, with Microsoft’s announcement of Windows Mixed Reality, the market is expanding beyond those two headsets, with a different ‘inside-out’ method of tracking becoming a new standard from many manufacturers (with sensors on the headset, rather than stationary around the room). At the forefront of this is Dell, who showed off their recently released Dell Visor at PAX AUS this year.

Joe Olmstead, PC Development/Planning Manager at Dell Gaming, explained the difference between the Dell Visor and other headsets:

“The HTC ecosystem and the Oculus ecosystem  are very very gaming focused. But, if you want to get started you have to take the visor off, get the OS, tweak around, put the visor back on, so it’s always this two world environment. Microsoft wanted to develop a world that was one. So you can control the OS in the visor, and it reached out beyond AAA gaming.”

“We’re going to see a lot of games from this platform, certainly Microsoft games – I mean, Forza’s coming and it’s going to look awesome. But also Minecraft, which I don’t play but a few billion do. Netflix and entertainment and photos and video – all of that is coming to that platform and that really takes you out of the room and into the living room… We have a very different design than others offering the Mixed Reality visor. We wanted something that was comfortable for two hours. We know there’ll be an IMAX-like experience coming probably first with documentaries but certainly eventually feature film, and we want you to have something that’s comfortable. It’s perfectly weighted so you have balance. We set out to design the most comfortable product that would build into this broader ecosystem that wasn’t just focused on gaming.”

Dell and Alienware still support the other VR technology out there – in fact using the HTC Vive with a green-screen to create a mixed reality experience for spectators at their PAX AUS booth, overlaying gameplay onto the environment around the player. However, the Dell Visor is an important first step into the larger world in that category of technology. It’s currently available at retailers such as JB Hi-Fi for AU $799.

Adam Ghiggino

Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.