Today, at pre-E3 press conference Facebook owned Oculus VR announced its teaming up with Microsoft, much to everyone’s surprise. The press conference was for the launch of the final consumer version of Oculus Rift virtual reality headset which is expected to hit the market early next year.
As a part of the surprise, it was announced Oculus Rift will come as a part with a Microsoft XBox One wireless controller signifying the partnership with Microsoft. Apart from the controller, gamers will be able to stream and play 2D versions of Xbox One games like Halo 5: Guardians, Forza Horizon 2 and Sunset Overdrive within Oculus Rift. These games will not be VR games but they are played in a virtual cinema on a larger 2D screen.
The new partnership in important and beneficial for both the companies and also the game players and customers. For Facebook, this teaming up will provide the Oculus a base or platform to work on which is Xbox One. This would motivate the developers to build on games and apps for Oculus, considering the mainstream gaming audience on Xbox. There is another way that the partnership could benefit the developers. As it will support Xbox One controllers out of the box, the developers can focus on the Xbox controller, which has been a popular platform to build games on, for more than ten years. “Buttons and analog sticks are still around for a reason: They are a great way to interact with complex games, which is critical for lot of different types of genres,” said Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey.
For the Microsoft, though the Xbox One is already very popular, now working with Oculus will help Xbox hold a competitive advantage over Sony’s Project Morpheus which is PlayStation 4’s virtual reality platform. Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox said, “The opportunity for us to bring our wireless controller, the one that we have spent so many year refining, to every Oculus user at launch is incredibly exciting for us.” He also added, “The Oculus 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 will be able to create state of the art virtual reality experiences on top of Windows.”
Despite of Microsoft’s own augmented reality device HoloLens, bringing in Oculus with Windows has its own reason and its important. Piper Jaffray’s analyst Gene Munster said, “The idea of being plug with Windows makes Oculus consumer ready. Streaming Xbox One games is a big deal because at launch is important. If they have more than 30 Xbox One games at launch that can be a significant deal.” Also, it has to be noted that with the compatibility of Windows 10 with Oculus Rift, hardcore gamers would be convinced to purchase the new Windows computer. After the failure of Windows 8, Microsoft is doing all possible branding to get back to be called the popular platform with the Windows 10.
The launch price of Oculus Rift has not be revealed but it is expected to cost around $350 to $500. The PC compatible VR will be on the higher end which implies only half of PC gamers would be able to use the Oculus Rift without requiring the more powerful graphics card upgrade or without buying a new PC.
Hope this partnership meets the hype for virtual reality at all times.