In a little over a month, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 10, the company's ambitious OS that will work on everything from phones to PCs and even your Xbox One. For the next generation of games, specifically for virtual reality and augmented reality devices, Microsoft is aiming to make Windows 10 the center of that experience.
To do this, Microsoft is working with Valve and Oculus to standardize how the inputs for location of the user in the virtual/augment worlds are received by the OS to make it easier for developers to work with these types of devices. Currently, these two companies have created proprietary methods for tracking gamers in their virtual worlds and with Windows 10, the output of this tracking will be standardized.
This may not sound like a big deal, but when you consider that Microsoft is working on its own AR hardware (Hololens) and that Valve spoke out vehemently against Windows 8, this rekindled relationship is not only good for developers, it's good for consumers as well.
Why? When you have competing platforms that all head in separate directions with proprietary technology when trying to accomplish a similar goals, the market becomes isolated silos of experiences. With Windows 10 unifying the underlying backend for developers, it becomes significantly easier for third parties to work with a wide range of hardware.
In short, it should make bringing games, if the developers want to, to other VR/AR hardware easier than if each company produced all of their own input/output pipelines that devs need to tap into to build apps/games.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, said that support for VR/AR headsets is built natively into Windows 10. This means that, unlike Windows 7 or 8 where VR/AR headsets are treated like external displays, Windows 10 recognizes this unique hardware and it's plug and play, with no configuring needed to setup your device.
Microsoft very easily could have made Windows 10 and HoloLens have the best developer experience and tried to force Valve/Oculus out of the conversation by making that development process degraded in comparison. But the company has embraced the idea that Windows 10 is the hub of the developer (and consumer) worlds and rather than push competitors away, they are now building bridges to these former foes.
Interview with Phil Spencer via: Business Insider