Microsoft and Oculus are in a long-running partnership – every Oculus Rift ships with an Xbox One controller, for example; obviously, it’s because the Rift doesn’t have any controllers of its own, but it needs a controller for interaction.
It is, however, not a one-way partnership – Microsoft gets something in return too; back in June of 2015, Microsoft announced that soon Xbox One players would be able to stream games to the Oculus Rift via a Windows 10 PC.
Now, after more than a year of wait; starting from December 12th, the feature will start rolling out to Xbox One consoles around the world – there’s a new Xbox One Streaming app for Windows 10 PC’s as well.
The two partnership benefits both parties – and most of all, the players; Xbox One players get the ability to play games like Halo, and the other Xbox One exclusives on the Rift, meanwhile Rift users get one of the best controllers out there with every purchase.
There is one tiny problem, though: the VR streaming is not exactly VR per se; as you can see from the images – the VR puts you in a room, where your Xbox One game appears on a giant television screen.
It’s an idea that has worked before – especially for co-op games – and it’s not too bad either; you get a TV as big as you could imagine, and you get a virtual coach so you can pretend it’s real.
It’s virtual reality – but it’s not virtual reality for the game you are in, and that is a shame.
Microsoft is keeping it simple: there are three ‘environments’ to choose from: Citadel, Retreat, and Dome – you can select one, and be virtually teleported to the environment, along with your game on a giant screen.
The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive play a significant role in the VR space – not only are they the first high-end VR headsets of this generation, but they are also the only two high-end headsets that consumers can purchase.
While the Oculus Rift is cheaper – only because it doesn’t have hand controllers – its price does match the HTC Vive if we include the $200 Rift hand controllers; at $800, these headsets are not cheap by anyone’s imagination.
These headsets were supposed to bring VR to the masses – they have failed that objective, mostly because of their price. Microsoft plans on building $300 VR headsets in partnership with its OEM’s – but we don’t know anything about these headsets, or whether they would be as good as the Rift and Vive.
Time will tell where the VR space is headed, but Oculus and HTC are here to stay – they are the only ones building high-end VR headsets, albeit not for the masses, but for only those who could afford them.
You can read more about the announcement at the Xbox official blog.