Earlier today, we reported that Microsoft had quietly deprecated its Windows Mixed Reality platform and will remove it from a future Windows update. The move put into question Microsoft’s previously announced plans to work with the US Army on a HoloLens-based headset labeled IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System).
A recent test of 20 of these IVAS headsets was deemed a success by the Army, meaning the next phase of its evaluation would begin. However, with the deprecation of Windows Mixed Reality, we wondered what this meant for the future of IVAS.
We contacted Microsoft about their decision to deprecate Windows Mixed Reality in general and the status of the IVAS headset for the US Army. We received this response from a Microsoft spokesperson:
Through both hardware and software solutions, Microsoft remains committed to mixed reality and the metaverse by bringing the physical and digital together in open, accessible, and secure ways for our customers and partners. We recently announced Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides at Microsoft Ignite, bringing mixed reality and generative AI together for HoloLens users.
We continue to work with the Army to develop IVAS into a transformational device that will significantly improve soldier safety, effectiveness, and capability. The positive feedback from early testing of the updated IVAS is a testament to our partnership with the government, commitment to the program, and ability to rapidly iterate to achieve results. IVAS is a great example of technology sharing between commercial products and fit-for-purpose government programs.
So, it appears that Microsoft will continue to work with the US Army on the HoloLens-based IVAS device. However, it seems that it will not offer any of its mixed reality software for consumers.
Still, Microsoft is working to add support for its software products on other VR and MR headsets. Earlier this month, it launched Xbox Cloud Gaming and also its Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for Meta’s Quest headsets. It also plans to offer those Office apps on Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro headsets.