Acer and Microsoft recently showcased their Mixed Reality Development Edition head-mounted display (HMD) at this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco and the Vision 17 AR/VR Summit. The new mixed reality (MR) HMDs are primarily designed for content creators, and indeed Microsoft reportedly gave away numerous units to all attendees at the Vision 17 AR/VR Summit earlier this week. Furthermore, recent reports now suggest that Acer has already started shipping these early devices to content developers while also considering expanding further into VR/AR content development on its own.
Acer has first shown an interest in the Virtual and Mixed Reality solutions back in 2016 when the company teamed up with Starbreeze in order to create the StarVR headset as a VR solution for IMAX. More recently, however, Acer partnered up with Microsoft and created the Mixed Reality Development Edition HMD, and fresh reports now suggest that roughly 1,000 units have already been shipped, mainly to content developers. According to Acer CEO, Jason Chen, VR technology is now at a point where it can be called "mature," however, one of the major issues surrounding the VR/AR segment is the general lack of content. The CEO added that the VR market currently has three major branches, namely Google Cardboard, high-end consumer-grade VR headsets such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and lastly, professional VR equipment including the aforementioned Acer StarVR headset. The Acer Mixed Reality Development Edition HMD developed jointly with Microsoft seems to be part of the latter category, and one of the reasons why both Acer and Microsoft are eager to put these devices in the hands of developers is to inspire content creators to create VR/AR applications for the Windows platform.
Last week, Acer took the veil off several PC products primarily designed for the gaming industry, including the Predator Triton 800 laptop and the Predator X27 gaming monitor. Nevertheless, Chen also mentioned that the company’s ambitions go beyond the PC gaming market as it’s now looking to aggressively expand into developing new products such as VR and MR technologies. The CEO recently stated that his company’s virtual reality business has been expanding into a variety of new markets including aerospace, automotive manufacturing, and real estate, adding that Acer already shipped sample HMD units to some of its clients in these fields.