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Microsoft goes big on 3D, gaming with new version of Windows 10

Microsoft's Megan Saunders
Microsoft’s Megan Saunders

Microsoft (MSFT) is rolling out a new version of its Windows 10 operating system called Windows 10 Creators Update. Coming in early 2017, the upgrade will focus on three main features: the incorporation of 3D capabilities for everyone, improvements for gamers and enhanced connectivity for friends and family.

The most noteworthy addition to the update, however, is the inclusion of 3D capabilities. During an onstage demo at an event in New York on Wednesday, Microsoft showed off a series of 3D features coming to Windows 10 apps including PowerPoint, Paint and a new VR platform.

Going big on 3D

In PowerPoint, you’ll be able to grab and insert 3D images from apps that you can manipulate in a 3D plane with a few clicks to create more immersive presentations. Your budget meetings will, however, continue to be boring.

During its presentation, Microsoft showed an example of someone presenting a report on fig trees. The presenter showed how you can import a 3D model of a fig tree and move it around the page to create dynamic transitions.

Paint is also getting a big 3D update. Yes, the same program you used to make doodles while passing the time in your high school typing class is moving into the world of 3D. The new app, called Paint 3D, will help you capture 3D scans of real-world objects using your smartphone and import them to your computer. You can then edit your 3D images the same way you’re able to edit 2D photos. You can also upload your 3D images to Facebook where you can view and move them around in a completely 3D space.

Microsoft’s Edge browser is also getting 3D support with Hololens, the company’s augmented-reality device. In one example, a demonstrator wearing the headset was able to find chair he wanted to buy for his home. In order to see how it would look before spending some cash, he tapped a photo of it in Edge and was able to pull it out of the browser and into the hologram where he could manipulate it in augmented reality to see how the chair would look in his home.

Microsoft isn’t just getting into augmented reality, though. The company is developing virtual reality capabilities, as well. In fact, Microsoft says it’s working with HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS and Acer to create virtual reality headsets that can detect six degrees of movement. That means they won’t need additional camera accessories to track your movement in a room. What’s more, they’ll be priced far lower than the current crop of headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, at just $300.

Gaming goes social

Outside of 3D, Microsoft is making a big push into gaming with Windows with built-in game broadcasting technology for Windows 10 and Xbox One. That means gamers will be able to stream their gameplay to friends and followers using the onboard Beam app.

The company is also providing gamers with the ability to create custom tournaments using Arena on Xbox Live. Essentially, you’ll be able to create and schedule online tournaments so you can finally determine who out of your friends is the ultimate nerd.

Microsoft is also bringing 4K video capabilities to Windows 10 for gaming and movies. That’s pretty great … if you have a 4K-compatible graphics card and a TV or monitor that can actually display 4K images.

Sharing and connecting

The Windows maker is offering improved sharing features, so you’ll now receive desktop notifications for apps like Outlook and Skype that relay text messages from Windows and Android phones and other programs. If you get a text from, say, your roommate, you’ll see it on your desktop.

You can then click the notification to access all of the communications you’ve had with that person. Unfortunately, Microsoft didn’t show off any social media integration, so there’s no word on whether this feature will work with Facebook (FB) or Twitter (TWTR).

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Creators Update will be available in early 2017. Stay tuned for our impressions.


Dan Howley is tech editor at Yahoo Finance.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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