What you need to play with a headset in immersive mode (mixed reality) on Windows PC, configure SteamVR and Hololens
Those who want to play PC games in immersive mode can therefore purchase a 3D viewer and configure it, depending on the type, with SteamVR or with the Mixed Reality function included in Windows 10 and Windows 11.
READ ALSO -> Best VR (Virtual Reality) apps for smartphone viewers (Android and iPhone)
1) Which headset to choose for VR games
The best device to use on Windows to take advantage of mixed reality is definitely theHoloLens 2, a very expensive device already configured to work very well with any modern version of Windows. This device is designed for professional use and for Mixed Reality meetings, but if we are among the lucky owners we can also access the tech demos and minigames designed for this viewer.
The specifications of this viewer can be viewed directly from Microsoft official page.
If we want to play on PC instead we can consider it other VR headsets designed to work specifically with games using Windows 11 or Windows 10:
- Valve Index
- HTC Vive Pro 2
- Oculus Rift
For further information we can read our guide on Virtual reality: parts and 3D viewers for PC.
2) Configure HoloLens 2
If we decide to use the expensive HoloLens 2 we can configure them even without the PC, using the computer later for basic configurations or to interact in Mixed Reality.
First we insert the viewer and start it, so that we can carry out the initial configuration procedure: choose the language and we connect the viewer to the Internet via Wi-Fi, using the floating menus and air gestures supported by the viewer (just move your fingers and hands to obtain the specific function in front of us). To use all the functions of the viewer you must use a Microsoft account, otherwise we will not be able to continue.
After the first configuration we will immediately be shown some images in augmented reality and the software will start calibration system to adapt the viewer to our sight and to our perception of perspective: we carry out all the steps to obtain a viewer tailored to our vision (we will therefore not be able to easily give it to others, unless we repeat the entire procedure).
With the HoloLens 2 configured we can install apps directly from it store integrated within it, thus avoiding the use of the PC (completely superfluous with this type of viewer). By connecting the viewer to the PC via USB port we can manage the viewer by opening Mixed reality portal within the Start menu and choosing what to add, what to remove and how to use the HoloLens 2.
3) Configurare SteamVR
Avid gamers can install the app SteamVR on your PC to be able to fully unlock the potential of the headset and use it correctly all games in the Steam catalog compatible with virtual reality.
After installing SteamVR on our PC, we connect the viewer we have via USB cable (or via a dedicated connection, depending on the type of viewer in use), start SteamVR and wait for the viewer connected to the computer to be recognized.
We follow the instructions on the screen and immediately use the VR interface to manage the game catalogue, purchasing or downloading games virtual reality gamesusing the special Steam catalog filter (immediately shows all VR games present).
For further information we can read our guide to best free VR games to try on PC.
4) Configurare Windows Mixed Reality
The reference point for mixed reality and virtual reality is the app Mixed Reality Portal for Windows 10 and Windows 11, accessible by searching for its name in the Start menu.
By opening this app and pressing the button at the bottom right Start setup and check your PC we can start the procedure to correctly connect the viewers to Windows and, very importantly, verify the necessary requirements to be able to use Mixed Reality.
The minimum characteristics to run the Mixed Reality Portal They are the following:
- Intel Core i5, i7, Intel Xeon E3-1240 v5, equivalent or better
- AMD Ryzen 5 equivalent or higher
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, AMD Radeon RX 5700, equivalent or higher
- 8 GB of RAM or more
- 1 viewing port 1.3
- 1 USB 3.0 Type-C port with power supply (or power supply included)
- Windows 10 version 20H2 or later
The lack of even one of these requirements will prevent the use of the mixed reality portal or will not allow access to all functions. For further information, we invite you to read the online guides onminimal hardware to run VR headsets and the guide to error screens for the Mixed Reality Portal.
Virtual reality and its variants (Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality) are accessible with modern VR viewers both independently (without the use of a PC, as in the case of HoloLens 2 or Oculus Quest 2) or by connecting the viewer to the PC and using Mixed Reality Portal or the SteamVR app to play compatible VR games.
To learn more we can read our guides on how to enter the Metaverse and what you can do come on how to access virtual worlds, 3D chats and online Metaverse similar to Second Life.
If our PC is not powerful enough to manage virtual reality we recommend that you equip yourself by reading our article on best hardware components to make yourself the most powerful PC ever.