Microsoft announces Mixed Reality Toolkit 3 is now an independent organization within GitHub, with Magic Leap and Qualcomm on new steering committee

In Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality News

August 24, 2023 – Microsoft has this week announced that its Mixed Reality Toolkit 3 (MRTK3) open-source software has been moved outside of Microsoft into its own independent organization within GitHub. The company made the announcement in a blog post in order to clarify the future of its MRTK3 project for the developer and partner community.

Microsoft stated that from its inception, the MRTK3 project was created to be cross-platform and open-source in order to benefit the entire ecosystem, and not just Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset.

“We believe that to be a true multi-platform toolkit that enables greater third-party collaboration, MRTK needs to be recognized as an independent organization that expands beyond Microsoft’s sole jurisdiction,” said Robin Seiler, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Windows + Devices organization.

The company noted that as its own organization, MRTK is now free of previous constraints that made it difficult for developers to introduce other endpoints and influence feature roadmaps. However, Microsoft reiterated that the transition does not change its investment in MRTK3. In fact, the company noted that it instead views this as an opportunity to increase investments in the program, as well as to create a steering committee that includes other major industry players.

One such major player that has already been announced as joining Microsoft on the MRTK3 organization’s steering committee is Magic Leap, previously one of the only companies that was rivaling the original HoloLens project a few years ago.

Microsoft noted that, like HoloLens, Magic Leap is a critical player in augmented reality (AR) devices, and that Magic Leap developers have been using MRTK UI frameworks, input systems, and other tools to support their augmented reality Unity applications.

Seiler added, “With Magic Leap joining Microsoft as equal stakeholders on the MRTK3 steering committee, we hope to enrich the current ecosystem and help our developer community create richer, more immersive experiences that span different platforms.”

Another major industry player that Microsoft has announced will be part of the steering committee is Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., which has worked with Microsoft on past AR initiatives, including providing the System-on-Chip (SoC) platform used in HoloLens 2 – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850.

Qualcomm Technologies also brought support for MRTK3 to the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform last year, enabling developers to leverage MRTK UI frameworks and input systems to build volumetric experiences for Spaces-based augmented reality glasses and virtual reality (VR) headsets, according to Microsoft. The company also highlighted that with Qualcomm Technologies joining the steering committee, two of the original architects of MRTK are returning to the project. 

In addition to these significant changes to the program, Microsoft also confirmed that MRTK3 is still anticipated to reach General Availability in Q3 of 2023, with developers able to expect the launch in the second week of September 2023.

Microsoft stated that it will be sharing more updates as it continues to grow the MRTK steering committee and collaborating on new open-source features and integrations.

For more information on MRTK3, click here.

Image credit: Microsoft

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.