Virtual Reality is a new, competitive, and emerging addition to the video game industry. Not only does it introduce a new dimension to gaming as a whole, but to the games themselves. It seems that VR is very much real, and here to stay.
Over the last year we’ve seen multiple companies and studios throw their hats into this thriving business. But we’ve also seen gaming systems make their bid too. Playstation’s PSVR is the extension to their best-selling console, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are making their mark on the PC ecosystem, and the Xbox is…. oh wait. We don’t know yet. Actually, Microsoft hasn’t officially announced that they have any sort of VR extension in the works. But, they are right? With Sony’s Xbox killer already dipping its feet, it would be suicide for Microsoft not to. Well, with a new Xbox 1.5 seemingly in the works, we’re going to bet the Xbox VR will be introduced jointly with the upgraded system. So here is my opinion on why Xbox VR is real, and has potential to be the definitive VR experience.
1. It’s Running Windows 10
Microsoft’s newest OS rolled out last year on PC and Xbox One. And, although its ecosystem is much smaller, gives Xbox One an advantage in terms its versatility and possibilities. One possibility is that Microsoft doesn’t even make a VR headset exclusively for Xbox, and that they just make the Xbox One compatible with the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. With an OS that already allows these systems to work on PC, it doesn’t seem impossible by any means. It would also be another step towards making Windows PC’s and Xbox One a truly integrated experience. Plus, who wouldn’t love saving money by not having to buy a separate headset for their gaming PC and their Xbox?
2. KINECT. PUT IT TO WORK.
I’ll be frank here. Microsoft has tried twice to make their motion tracking Xbox companion a mainstream gaming platform, and has failed both times. With a lack of games, troublesome compatibility, and an honest lack of interest by the community, it just didn’t last. But VR is an opportunity to put the Kinect to work. Think about it. If you own a Kinect, you already have the whole motion tracking element that takes VR to the next level. The element that draws the line between headsets like the HTC Vive (with motion tracking) and the Oculus Rift (without motion tracking). An element that the PSVR is unlikely to have. Basically all Microsoft would have to make is a headset with a screen, and “Kinect” it to the Kinect. This would blow any console competitors out of the water, and is something I can definitely see Microsoft doing and using to close the gap this console generation.
3. Cloud Gaming
Microsoft unveiled their new “Cloud Gaming” engine last year with the introduction of Crackdown 3. This system basically allows certain graphical assets in a game to be accessed over the internet, reducing the load on the console itself. With the Xbox One’s lack in graphical power, and the possibility that the rumored Xbox 1.5 is not improving on that, Cloud Gaming could allow the Xbox One to have a better VR graphical experience than the PS4.
If Xbox VR is indeed being developed, Microsoft has a second chance to make their mark on this console generation. This, their project “Scorpio”, and all of the points I’ve listed together could make Xbox a force to be reckoned with by this time next year.