Microsoft is reviving Windows mixed reality somewhere we never expected

Screenshots taken from a presentation of designing an Xbox controller in Creo with Windows Volumetric Apps
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is launching a brand new mixed reality experience in Windows with Volumetric Apps on the Meta Quest platform.
  • Developers can sign up to preview the new development API, allowing them to bring their existing apps into 3D space.
  • Microsoft says that its example app, Creo, took only a single day to turn into a Volumetric App with the new API.

Microsoft may have pulled the plug on its Windows Mixed Reality VR platform at the end of 2023, but the company continues to invest in other VR platforms with yet another new announcement. The company says that Volumetric Apps, its answer to Apple's Spatial apps, will be coming to Meta Quest headsets via the Windows platform in the near future.

Developers can sign up for the new Volumetric Apps API and be among the first to migrate apps into a spatial environment, making it easier for customers to interface with them while wearing a Meta Quest 3 headset.

Microsoft showed off the new API at Build 2024, its annual developer conference, but kept the presentation short. During the one-minute demo, Microsoft showed off Creo, a CAD-based engineering software, along with the user manipulating and customizing an Xbox controller in 3D space.

Microsoft says that Volumetric Apps will be coming to the Meta Quest platform, suggesting that the company is further enhancing its relationship with Meta and potentially providing a Quest-exclusive way to run Windows.

Last year, Microsoft announced that Meta Quest 3 users will be able to use Windows 11 from the headset but has yet to reveal more specific plans. Presumably, Microsoft will utilize Meta's own Quest Link software so users can connect to their PCs either wirelessly or via a USB-C cable.

In addition to Volumetric Apps, Meta Quest owners can stream Xbox Game Pass to their headsets and even use Microsoft Office. A limited edition Xbox-branded Meta Quest headset is also expected to arrive sometime later this year.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu