Why now is the time to finally keep the Xbox VR promise

Samsung's HMD Odyssey is just one of numerous headsets compatible with Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality program.

Above: Samsung’s HMD Odyssey is just one of numerous headsets compatible with Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality program.

If you owned an Oculus Rift back when it first launched in 2016, you might remember that Oculus Touch wasn’t out yet. That’s right: The original Rift launched without any motion controllers. The only tracked thing in that box was the headset itself using a single camera.

Instead, right alongside the headset and single camera, your box included an actual, official Xbox One controller.

It seems weird now because that relationship never flourished further, but the groundwork seems to have at least partially been laid half a decade ago for Xbox VR to happen.

Now with the Xbox Series X on the horizon, it seems like the perfect time to rekindle that relationship. By aligning with Facebook Gaming for streaming and cloud gaming, the door is now open to foster a partnership between Oculus and Microsoft to get Oculus headsets working with Xbox.


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Microsoft hasn’t added support for their own VR headsets, but since the Xbox Series X is extremely capable out of the box, adding support for the Rift S or Quest — two headsets that are tracked via inside-out sensors built into the headset — seems like an excellent middle ground.

I reached out to both Xbox PR and Oculus PR to ask for comment on this concept, but didn’t receive anything useful. They’re staying tight-lipped if that’s the play.

Now is the time. Xbox has a stable of studios in their pocket right now, some of which have VR experience already like Ninja Theory and inXile, that could knock it out of the park with the power of an Xbox VR platform.

Innovating in the gaming space comes down to taking risks and backing bold ideas, not playing it safe. I’m fairly certain no one was “asking for” Xbox Live prior to the original Xbox, but Microsoft changed gaming forever anyway.

You need to read the room to gauge the direction the industry is slowly shifting. Perhaps the issue at hand here isn’t that nobody’s asking for VR, but that nobody’s listening.

This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2020

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