Microsoft has been building up Windows Mixed Reality headsets from hardware partners Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo for over a year now, but at the very last minute before all these immersive PC-connected devices actually start selling, a different OEM is looking to snatch their spotlight away.
With Redmond’s blessing, of course, it seems a WMR head-mounted display called Samsung Odyssey will be released on November 6 following a short pre-order period. After the random online appearance of a few high-resolution press renders last week, Microsoft’s own official US e-store has just confirmed the name, key specs and selling points of this premium new Windows PC-compatible product in similarly unexpected fashion.
Someone’s probably going to get fired for jumping the gun here, revealing the impressive 2880 x 1600 pixel count of the Odyssey’s OLED screen, as well as a standard 90Hz refresh rate, 110˚ field of view, and included motion controllers, headphones and dual array mics. Included for a price of $499, mind you, which ambitiously matches the current rate of the market-pioneering Oculus Rift while undercutting the universally praised HTC Vive.
In theory, mixed and virtual reality aren’t the same thing, so that’s perhaps not an entirely fair comparison. But the truly important distinctions come in the form of supported apps and “experiences”, with general use cases feeling awfully similar when all is said and done.
Rumored back in the day to go the still-utopian standalone route, the $499 Samsung Odyssey is costlier than its “ecosystem” compadres, supporting a decent list of high-end and mid-range computers, and touting the advantage of extra-sharp OLED technology. Now let’s just wait for a proper formal announcement on Microsoft’s part.