Got a new Windows Mixed Reality headset? Here are 11 things to try

So you got a new Windows Mixed Reality headset for Christmas or just picked one up? Once you have setup your new headset here are 10 things that you should try for yourself, and use to impress your friends and family when showing off Windows Mixed Reality.

Watch a movie in the media room

How would you like a 100 inch TV in your media room? With Mixed Reality you can do that, head down to the lower level of your Cliff House and there is a media room ready for some apps. In the media room you can place video apps like Netflix or Cyberlink’s media player and watch movies or TV shows. It’s a great experience and a great way to watch movies. I have used it to watch Youtube videos via Microsoft Edge, Amazon Prime videos and even watched the Formula One racing.

Take a tour of Rome with HoloTour

When I show someone Windows Mixed Reality for the first time I generally start with Microsoft’s Holotour app. It’s free from the Microsoft Store and includes two tours: Rome and Machu Picchu. The tour takes you through the streets of Rome, in a hot air balloon and to the coliseum. It’s a totally immersive experience with interactive elements and really makes you feel like you are there. You are even taken back in time to look at what the city looked like in its prime. It’s a great showcase for Virtual Reality.

Install SteamVR

While the Microsoft Store contains many great apps and games another source of games is Steam. There are hundreds of VR games in the Steam store and most of them seems to work very well with Windows Mixed Reality. There are a good selection of free games to try including a fun Star Wars games called Star Wars Droid Repair Bay and some worth paying for like Rick and Morty Virtual Rick-ality. In the October 2018 Update for Windows 10 Microsoft and Steam added the ability to pin SteamVR games into the Cliff House or Skyloft.

my personl favoirtes are Beat Saber and Project Cars 2.

Explore the world with Google Earth

The first thing from the Stream Store you should try is Google Earth. The app is free and you can view anywhere in the world, you can zoom out and see the whole planet and then zoom right down to street level. Many areas are 3D modelled so you can fly over cities and landmarks. There are some built in tours and a search option so you can go anywhere in the world.

Play the brilliant puzzle game Fantastic Contraption

If you want to try out gaming and like puzzles you should try out Fantastic Contraption. The game challenges you to build life sized contraptions to solve puzzles in various ways, you could build a car to get the ball to the other side of the island or make a catapult. It very addictive and challenging and with it being in VR you can walk around your contraption. The game is available from the Microsoft Store for £11.71.

Get shooting with Space Pirate Trainer

If you want to try your shooting skills you should try Space Pirate Trainer. In this game you face waves of flying drones armed with two guns and a few gadgets. The drones come at you from all sides and you can dodge the bullets if you are quick. The game is available from the Stream Store and the Microsoft Store.

Watch 360 degree videos with Microsoft Edge

One of the great uses of Mixed Reality is to view 360-degree immersive videos. There are a ton of 360 videos on YouTube, Facebook and other sites. To watch them in Windows Mixed Reality you need a 360 video extension for Microsoft Edge that Microsoft have released for free. After installing the extension there is a new 360 view icon in Microsoft Edge that opens the video in immersive mode. Give it a try with some of the 360 roller-coaster videos on YouTube.

Be social with vTime

How about chatting with your friends in space, under the sea or in Paris? That is what you can do with vTime. vTime is a social app for VR that creates an avatar that you can use to chat with your friends, it recreates your head and hand movements so it really feels you are in the room together. It works with iPhone, Android, Rift and others. The app is free from the Microsoft Store for free.

Stream and play Xbox One games

While you can’t play Xbox One games on Windows Mixed Reality headset you can stream Xbox games to the headset via the Windows Xbox app. To play your games you open up the Xbox app from the cliff house, place it on a wall in front of you and then you can use the stream feature to stream the game play to your giant screen. You can either plug the Xbox controller into your PC or just use the Xbox controller you have already paired with your Xbox. Make sure you have a good network connection for it to work smoothly. You can read my how to guide on how to play Xbox games on Windows Mixed Reality.

Go inside your Minecraft creations

With Windows Mixed Reality you can immerse yourself into your Minecraft creations using the headset. Install Minecraft from the Microsoft Store and then launch the game from the Cliff House. Once the game has loaded you can tap the button on the left thumb stick and it takes you into immersive mode. Here you can walk around your Minecraft world and continue playing the game. It gives you a different perspective on the Minecraft world. You can do everything you can do in the normal mode but it has proper 3D perspective. You can get the game from the Microsoft Store for £22.49.

Try new virtual homes in Windows Mixed Reality

The April 2018 Windows 10 update introduced support for custom environments in Windows Mixed Reality. This means you can create your own homes limited only by your imagination (and 256mb file size), to give you an idea of what you can do I have created some custom environments for you.

Here is how to create your own environments for Windows Mixed Reality, and you can download some that I created.

Other things to try:

There are many other great experiences for Windows Mixed Reality and it’s not just all about gaming. You can go on spacewalk, use Microsoft Word and Excel. Browse the web, use twitter and Facebook and lots more. The only problem is finding the time do all this stuff. I should also look at some other great games like Super-Hot VR, Hypercade and Arizona Sunshine.

Let me know your favourite Mixed Reality games and apps. Here is my review of the Lenovo and Acer Windows Mixed Reality headsets:

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About the author Ian Dixon:
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.

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