In December, Microsoft confirmed the end of development for its once-ambitious Windows Mixed Reality platform. The tech giant has put together a clear timeline for the end of support for both consumer and commercial editions of the virtual reality component. Official documents indicate that November 1, 2026, will mark the end of life for consumer editions such as Windows Home and Pro, while commercial editions will see an extended deadline until November 1, 2027.
Continued Use Beyond Support
Despite the halt in future updates and development, Microsoft assures customers that existing Windows Mixed Reality headsets will remain operable post-support. That includes the company's own HoloLens/HoloLens 2 devices, along with the IVAS contract with the US military.
Users can continue to engage with compatible software and games, assuming they operate on Windows versions that retain compatibility with the Mixed Reality platform. It is imperative, however, to download the necessary software prior to the termination date, as upgrades to subsequent Windows editions lacking Mixed Reality support will render the headsets inoperative.
Unaffected Augmented Reality Development
The phase-out of Windows Mixed Reality bears no impact on the continued evolution of Microsoft's other ventures in immersive technologies, such as the HoloLens augmented reality headset. Microsoft remains steadfast in its commitment to develop and support HoloLens, particularly focusing on enterprise applications.
In addition to Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft has also phased out other features and components throughout 2023, including Microsoft Defender Application Guard for Edge and Steps Recorder, WordPad, Cortana, and more. The company's recent publications outline Windows features deprecated in 2023, advising users to take note of the changes that may directly affect them. As the landscape of Microsoft's product offerings shifts, customers are encouraged to stay informed of these transitions and prepare for the future of Windows operating systems.