The virtual reality gaming space is heating up in a big way, and many companies are betting that VR technology will be gaming's next big thing. Rumors say that Sony will dedicate half of its E3 booth to its upcoming VR headset, Project Morpheus, while tech heavyweights Valve and HTC partnered up to make the Vive headset. And then there's the Oculus Rift headset from Oculus VR, which showed so much potential that Facebook bought the company for $2 billion.
With so many companies getting involved in virtual reality, it seems unusual that Microsoft hasn't taken the plunge as well. After all, with the Microsoft Band and the company's augmented reality HoloLens headset, Microsoft is clearly interested in wearable technology, and isn't afraid to take a bit of a risk. In addition, with the PS4 outselling the Xbox One, Microsoft can't risk losing any more ground to Sony.
However, while Microsoft isn't making its own virtual reality headset (yet), the company is still very interested in VR. At Oculus VR's pre-E3 press briefing, the company announced a partnership with Microsoft, which brings Xbox One controllers and games to the Oculus Rift headset.
The two companies explained that, when the consumer model of Oculus Rift goes on sale in Q1 2016, every single one will come bundled with a wireless Xbox One controller and adapter. Xbox boss Phil Spencer attended the conference, adding that "the opportunity for us to bring our wireless controller, the one that we’ve spent so many years refining, to every Oculus user at launch is incredibly exciting for us."
Spencer also said:
The Rift will natively work with Windows 10. And we all know that VR experiences require the highest performance, and with Direct X 12, we believe we’ll be able to create state of the art virtual reality experiences on top of Windows.
On the PC gaming side of things, this is a huge win for Microsoft. In the past, the company has been criticized in the past for neglecting PC gamers, most notably when they failed to mention PC games during their E3 2014 press conference. Its partnership with Oculus and the Rift's native Windows 10 support is, perhaps, Microsoft's way of showing PC gamers that, although the company stumbled in the past (such as with Games for Windows Live), Windows 10 is right at the forefront of modern gaming.
Microsoft's Oculus Rift partnership also has some benefits for Xbox gamers. During the presentation Spencer said that "people will be able to stream their Xbox One games to Oculus Rift"; games like Halo, Sunset Overdrive and Forza are certainly a good fit for the Oculus Rift's up close and personal tech.
Given that Windows 10 will be rolled out to Xbox One consoles following its PC release this summer, and thatMicrosoft is encouraging developers to think about multi-platform support, it is entirely possible that Xbox One gamers could soon be treated to the same VR games that are available on PC. This could also make for some Xbox One and PC exclusives, which Sony certainly won't be happy with.
Is this a smart move from Microsoft? Which Xbox One games would you like to play on Oculus Rift? Leave a comment and let us know.