This Spring, Microsoft is planning to roll out an update to Windows which will bring a number of improvements to Windows VR headsets, including better performance when used to play SteamVR content and during typical use, and a new environment for users to choose as their home space.

Available now for those who want to run Windows Insider Preview Build 17115 (available to the ‘Fast Ring’), an update that’s planned to roll out widely this Spring offers a series of improvements to the Windows VR experience, Microsoft detailed today on its blog.

Alongside the original ‘Cliff House’, users will be able to choose a new ‘Skyloft’ environment as their home space when first putting on the headset. A single screenshot shared thus far (seen heading this article) isn’t terribly endearing, looking rather rough around the edges. Granted, the original Cliff House environment looks decent enough, so hopefully the new environment will look better in the flesh.

More exciting for those who are primarily using their Windows VR headset for gaming, Microsoft says the update “significantly” reduces the amount of video RAM used when playing games via SteamVR. Back in November, Microsoft made available a SteamVR integration allowing Windows VR headsets to play SteamVR content.

As for the base Windows VR experience, the company says the video preview window (shown on the desktop monitor while you’re in VR) will see better performance than before. A new shortcut makes it quick and easy to take screenshots (hold the Windows button and then pull the trigger). The setup experience now offers more detail about occasional compatibility issues with USB 3.0 controllers and graphics cards, the company says, and the update will further bring “many more improvements that the team has been hard at work on.”

Samsung Odyssey+ 40% Off as Steep Discounts on Windows VR Headsets Continue

If you want preview the update you can join the Windows Insider program and hop in the ‘Fast Ring’ to get Build 17115. Otherwise you’ll get the update when it launches widely through Windows Update as usual, due out sometime this Spring.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
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  • Annie

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  • Michael Oder

    Microsoft needs to pull the Windows MR updates out of the OS to a separate channel. The headsets are good, but we spend a significant amount of time dealing with OS updates breaking working installs. The latest windows update is currently blocking installing the headsets on new machines. It’s quite ridiculous.

  • Bursty

    I would like to turn around using sticks or pads in steam vr.

    • Mythos88

      Search on how to enable “thumbstickControlsEnabled” in Steam’s vrsettings config file

  • ZNemerald

    I am mostly excited for the ram thing. My pc keeps going into page file. Also updates to the cliff house is also great. The place is starting to be meh now.