2 min read
Microsoft to End Support for Windows Mixed Reality in 2026

Microsoft's VR venture started with a bang in 2017, bringing inside-out tracking to PC VR and baking "Windows Mixed Reality" (WMR) into the OS. It was like VR plug-and-play, complete with a forward-thinking virtual desktop system.

But somewhere between promise and execution, cracks started to show.Firstly, the WMR app store remained a lonely desert compared to rivals like Steam and Meta's (then Oculus) library. This meant Steam became the de facto VR hub for Windows headsets, siphoning revenue away from Microsoft.Secondly, the universal Windows VR controllers were...not ideal. 

Bulky, awkwardly laid out, and with tracking behind the competition, they felt like yesterday's news. HP's 2020 attempt at improvement, while borrowing inspiration from Oculus Touch controllers, still clung to bulky rings and visible-light tracking.Now, six years later, Microsoft is quietly whispering "goodbye" to WMR. A mention on the Windows "Deprecated Features" page spells it out: Windows Mixed Reality is on its way out, along with the Mixed Reality Portal app and SteamVR integration.

While Windows VR headsets aren't chart-toppers, there's an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 still plugged into Steam every month. So, what becomes of them? The details are fuzzy.WMR is deeply embedded in Windows, yet the SteamVR plugin sits on Valve's turf. Will these features simply vanish after "deprecation," or just get removed from the virtual shelves? Will existing installations keep ticking? Will Microsoft offer standalone downloads to keep the lights on? The answers are lost in the digital fog.

One thing's clear: Microsoft's early VR gambit is fading. Whether existing users get left in the dark or offered a lifeline remains to be seen. Regardless, it's a reminder that even in the ever-evolving world of tech, sometimes early adopters become afterthoughts. 

The article was written by Amit Caesar and bard

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