Microsoft Joins The VR Race With Its Own Xbox One Headset

Microsoft Joins The VR Race With Its Own Xbox One Headset

Oculus DK2

Microsoft's Xbox One VR headset is reportedly well into development, and will be formally announced at E3, 2015.

The Oculus Rift, much like the Wiimote before it, is a bold new step in video gaming tech that is gaining a lot of traction, so of course, all of its competitors are rushing to jump on its bandwagon. Sony was quick to announce its own copy-cat: Project Morpheus, but the other two big players (Nintendo and Microsoft) had been fairly silent. Now, TechRadar has learned that Microsoft's Xbox One VR headset is already well into development, and we will most likely see it at next year's E3.

According to the sources, who have informed both TechRadar and VR Focus, the Xbox One VR headset dev kits are already in the hands of some developers, suggesting that Microsoft is working hard to get a solid software lineup before formally announcing the device.

A separate source at Digitimes claims that Microsoft plans to unveil the device in 2015, with E3 being strongly hinted at being the specific time and place. The reports from all parties state that the project is being headed up by the team who were previously in charge of Microsoft's surface tablet.

You know what they say, the greatest form of flattery is imitation, so the boys and girls over at Oculus must feel pretty flattered by this news. What do you guys think? Obviously, its in gaming's best interests to have VR devices for every platform, as it can hopefully make cross-platform ports of VR titles that much easier.

Sources: TechRadar, VR Focus, Digitimes

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The feeling i have now, is the same i've had after i've seen a ton of trailers for space combat games once Star Citizen's Kickstarter proved to be a massive success.

There's too much VR developing happening right now, and even 'dough we may dream it will be all cross-compatible, and codable in the same manner, it will more than likely seclude the 3 master races to their own VR experiences, straight out of the (i belive they have ended) console-wars.

In hindsight, i praise Oculus Rift's alliance with Facebook, as it makes their VR brand more prone to beeing used everywhere -> devs don't have to worry about buyers and differences in coding for other VR systems.

I dunno, people were gushing about the 3d of the 3ds when looking at prototypes in exhibitions but once that thing hit homes, the first thing to go down is the 3d slider once the novelty wears off.
Virtual reality is probably the same thing.
Once people are over the novelty they'll realize how much of a pain those giant heavy goggles are so it'll probably just be another 3d bubble waiting to pop, just like in cinema.

So it's just a bandwagon everyone jumps on top of, not the "future" imo.

I knew it! While they were all like "VR isn't in or immediate future", they've been tinkering away in the background on one. I'm not yet sold on VR (although I did get to play one of those early VR Machines back in the 90's), but I might take a squizz in the future.

So the next XBox4, XboxTwo, XBox420, or whatever is going to be bundled with the mandatory Optikect which will watch your every move and scan your retinas for the sake of DRM. Thanks Obama.

Skepticism: With all the different VR platforms being developed, along with the fact the technology is unproven in a real world market, I hope things don't turn sour for a lot of people working on these and the games, if the hype train derails before they can even break even.

Optimism: Hey, more competition will make ever VR designer try to improve their offering or drop their prices in the future to remain competitive. That second point could be good for legitimate VR uses, like physical therapy.

Cynicism: Great, another VR headset locked to just one company's products. That means that the Rift is the only one putting pressure on Morpheus and Xbone VR to not suck. Also, when is Apple going to jump in on the VR craze by buying a company with some VR patent, make the iPiece/iGoggles/iMatrix and start suing everyone.

Counterpoint: The Wiimote was misused in most applications, and its waggle was often used as an unreliable button. And Wii Motion Plus had too much lag to actually be used in fast paced games like Skyward Sword. I'm not too interested in VR, but I'd rather not see its first few years full of similar shovelware that bury the few gems worth looking at either.

Microsoft putting out a VR headset for their console? I don't have high hopes for the frame-rate or latency. Just look at how slow and laggy the Kinect was.

Hairless Mammoth:
Skepticism: With all the different VR platforms being developed, along with the fact the technology is unproven in a real world market, I hope things don't turn sour for a lot of people working on these and the games, if the hype train derails before they can even break even. *SNIP*

Probably because they know that whoever gets in first or at least near first has a good chance of coming out on top. Waiting to see if it succeeds often means you've waited too long to compete (unless you can offer something far above your competition)

I think we're still at least 5-10 years away from a decent VR experience. If you look at the Wii, it was pretty much revolutionary with its motion controls, and they were still at quite a basic level. There's a lot of R&D to get this sort of technology to a level where it's legitimately immersive rather than a fun little minigame.

I very much doubt the current consoles are capable of providing a good enough VR experience. The GPU and the CPU power just isn't there.

Even if they decided to drop the graphics and resolution of games to something quite inadequate for VR gaming the stupidly slow jaguar cores in the PS4 and Xbone would really struggle to deliver the minimum of 75 fps that's required for a good experience, preferably something in the 85fps + range.

The GPUs of both the consoles are also way too weak to power a good VR experience in normal titles. MS and Sony would have to have devs produce some sort of VR titles with neutered graphics in order to have enough GPU power (and due to the paragraph above even this probably wouldn't be enough). There is absolutely no way that the consoles are capable of driving the minimum of 1080p (same as DK2 at this moment, still quite annoying screen door etc., this is the absolute minimum resolution) screens and doing so at a constant 75 fps (or more) while also dealing with the extra overhead. Not in modern high quality titles at least.

loa:
I dunno, people were gushing about the 3d of the 3ds when looking at prototypes in exhibitions but once that thing hit homes, the first thing to go down is the 3d slider once the novelty wears off.
Virtual reality is probably the same thing.
Once people are over the novelty they'll realize how much of a pain those giant heavy goggles are so it'll probably just be another 3d bubble waiting to pop, just like in cinema.

So it's just a bandwagon everyone jumps on top of, not the "future" imo.

Have you actually ever tried one? The thing with 3d is that it hardly makes a difference (in movies as well as games), and doesn't preset any gameplay advantages at all, quite the opposite in fact.

There are a lot of things that current VR already does really well.

-Gameplay advantages
-refresh rates are good enough at this point
-headsets are light (trust me on this, the DK2 really is much lighter than it looks)

however there are a couple of big problems right now that do show that VR really isn't quite ready for prime time:

-resolution is still too low. Or maybe more accurately, the gaps between subpixels are too big, the subpixels themselves are too big etc. And for example on the DK2 you have 2x more green subpixels than red or blue. But in general resolution needs to go way up. 4K is probably the tipping point where resolution stops being an annoyance (assuming a reasonable sub-pixel arrangement).

-GPU power. The hardware required to run these things is pretty out there. I run a 1300MHz+ GTX Titan and I consider my setup to be barely capable of powering the proper experience on the DK2.

VR still needs time before it's ready for mass consumption but there's a good reason that a lot of devs are going apeshit over it. VR really does offer a HUUUGE jump in immersion. plain old 3d never did this at all.

Lets be serious for a minute. If they put one out it won't be as a reaction to the Oculus, it'll be as a reaction to Morpheus.
Normally not worth mentioning I know, but the sheer heavy-handed angle being pushed in the OP just has to be nipped.

Alatar The Red:

VR still needs time before it's ready for mass consumption but there's a good reason that a lot of devs are going apeshit over it. VR really does offer a HUUUGE jump in immersion. plain old 3d never did this at all.

Immersion could be up for debate. I guess it depends on the kind of immersion it gives someone. Of course it is visually immersive - even to the point of messing with a person's sense of balance and real spatial awareness (as demonstrated in that video of the guy viewing the roller coaster thing on the OR). But with movies for example, I've never been more immersed in a 3d movie than I have been whilst watching any number of standard format films. The glasses are annoying, the movies that cater to it are gimmicky - or at least have dedicated visual segments that are there only becuse *Hey audience we made a 3d movie, so 3d, here is a thing in 3d*... The best I can say is sometimes National Geographic / Blue Planet / Planet Earth stuff looks cool. It never makes me forget where I am and what's happening around me - it never removes me from my present environment in the same way just watching a really good movie will. It's never what I think of as being immersive.

Gaming is the same. VR looks awesome, but wearing the thing is a constant reminder of the world beyond the one on screen - it's light, but noticably there regardless. I agree it is immersive, but only in the visual aspect. It has a very, VERY long way to go to make me forget about the real world and absorb me, the way I can feel sitting comfortably with no distractions and falling into a great game or even a book.

I guess I would call it more of a huge jump in technology than in actual immersion. Maybe different people are immersed in different ways by different things?

smithy_2045:
I think we're still at least 5-10 years away from a decent VR experience. If you look at the Wii, it was pretty much revolutionary with its motion controls, and they were still at quite a basic level. There's a lot of R&D to get this sort of technology to a level where it's legitimately immersive rather than a fun little minigame.

I agree. Though it's worth noting just how much of a leap the rift actually represented, both in quality and cost, given that VR has actually been around for 30+ years.

Whay i've found, personally though, is we have a massive lag in the supplementary technology.
even the DK1 can do passable VR graphics, but what really kills it quickly is all about trackinb.
the dk1 lacks positional head tracking, but even with that, you quickly realise how little control you have.

VR + game controller is a very dubious experience. (VR + keyboard & mouse an almost unusable one)

When you can convince someone's brain they ARE somewhere else, but then immediately hit them with basically having no body at all, or at best one they can't control or feel in any way.

Know what the first thing was that VR made me want to do? Touch a tree. Feel it's surface.

Which is impossible with even the most advanced controller tech out there.

We have a serious hole in the technology that isn't anything to do with the headsets...

Maybe the Xbone's new Not-Kinect will have additional onboard resources to make up for the console's lack of Oomph? Of course that would make it heavy. Perhaps it won't be 1080, more like 720. It would still need additional resources however.

Ha.

Haha.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

It was funny when Sony thought their PS4 could run a VR machine but it seems that microsoft is digging this grave too.

The sad thing is that when (not if, when) this will fail spectacullary there will be many people left who never experienced actual VR but think they did and wont even try it for years. Much like how the "your phone as VR machine" did a few months back.

RicoADF:

Hairless Mammoth:
Skepticism: With all the different VR platforms being developed, along with the fact the technology is unproven in a real world market, I hope things don't turn sour for a lot of people working on these and the games, if the hype train derails before they can even break even. *SNIP*

Probably because they know that whoever gets in first or at least near first has a good chance of coming out on top. Waiting to see if it succeeds often means you've waited too long to compete (unless you can offer something far above your competition)

I'm not saying they shouldn't try, but this is a big gamble. With all the financial trouble everyone in the games industry (not named Valve) is currently having, this is kinda becoming an "all of your eggs in a single basket" scenario.

I'm just worried about the devs teams who have been assigned to making VR units and porting over games to VR systems that VR doesn't hit a brick wall shortly after launch. We all know what big businesses do to hard working teams who's products fail financially.

CrystalShadow:
Know what the first thing was that VR made me want to do? Touch a tree. Feel it's surface.

Which is impossible with even the most advanced controller tech out there.

We have a serious hole in the technology that isn't anything to do with the headsets...

There's a way to fix that, but it requires meeting a sunglasses and trench coat wearing Laurence Fishburne and getting a long, painful looking needle jammed into your skull. (I heard pills are involved, too.) Also, I think the tech is decades away, if even possible.

(Seriously though, I do agree that sensory issues are a major hurdle for VR. Obstacles that need years of research to overcome.)

Alatar The Red:

-GPU power. The hardware required to run these things is pretty out there. I run a 1300MHz+ GTX Titan and I consider my setup to be barely capable of powering the proper experience on the DK2.

VR still needs time before it's ready for mass consumption but there's a good reason that a lot of devs are going apeshit over it. VR really does offer a HUUUGE jump in immersion. plain old 3d never did this at all.

So you're admitting it's a gimmick? Or at least for the next 20-50 years or so? Sorry, I have a hard time accepting anything other than that headsets will always be an enthusiast choice opposed to an main steam market accessory.

Unless you live alone or mange to seclude yourself from the real world. People need their 2 eyes to see. Hell, just drinking your drink would require to take them off, VR isn't practical.

mad825:

Alatar The Red:

-GPU power. The hardware required to run these things is pretty out there. I run a 1300MHz+ GTX Titan and I consider my setup to be barely capable of powering the proper experience on the DK2.

VR still needs time before it's ready for mass consumption but there's a good reason that a lot of devs are going apeshit over it. VR really does offer a HUUUGE jump in immersion. plain old 3d never did this at all.

So you're admitting it's a gimmick? Or at least for the next 20-50 years or so? Sorry, I have a hard time accepting anything other than that headsets will always be an enthusiast choice opposed to an main steam market accessory.

Unless you live alone or mange to seclude yourself from the real world. People need their 2 eyes to see. Hell, just drinking your drink would require to take them off, VR isn't practical.

Yeah, and what about those stupid headphone thingies? Totally impractical - big, cumbersome; people need their 2 ears to hear, dagnabbit! And oh merciful God, the Herculean effort required to remove one's hands from the keyboard and lift the headset from one's head for the brief moments when something outwith the game demands one's attention is truly unbearable.

Am I being sufficiently sarcastic to successfully imply that my eyes are rolling so hard I can see my own brain, or do you require a satirical gif?

Does the fact it will likely end up as an "enthusiast" accessory mean it's worthless? A gimmick? That's a pretty narrow view of things, apply that standard to other aspects of computing and anything other than a midrange rig with a 30fps 1080p monitor is a "gimmick" - that kind of mediocrity(in terms of hardware) is ably catered for by consoles, part of the selling point of PC gaming is that you have the choice whether or not you want to settle for that or try to improve the experience.

This attitude some people have that any form of VR short of Star Trek-style holodecks or indistinguishable-from-reality virtual worlds accessed through direct full-sensory neural links is a pointless waste of time is ridiculous, farcical even. If we had that attitude regarding all aspects of gaming and computing we'd still be running text games from punch cards on building-sized valve-based computers, because hey, what's the point of doing anything unless you can immediately achieve the hypothetical best version of that thing which might conceivably be achievable?

I sort of saw this coming... Sony does and Microsoft copies. Microsoft does and Sony copies.

Same old game between those two...

Let me know when full immersion becomes a reality. I'll definitely be one of those first timers that gets trapped in the virtual world.

No, seriously. Give me something like Skyrim to goof off in and I'd be golden.
Or some Dragon Age.
Or Mass Effect.
You know, I think I'll just go fantasize about living in the virtual world, now.

Top choice? Pokemon.

mad825:

Alatar The Red:

-GPU power. The hardware required to run these things is pretty out there. I run a 1300MHz+ GTX Titan and I consider my setup to be barely capable of powering the proper experience on the DK2.

VR still needs time before it's ready for mass consumption but there's a good reason that a lot of devs are going apeshit over it. VR really does offer a HUUUGE jump in immersion. plain old 3d never did this at all.

So you're admitting it's a gimmick? Or at least for the next 20-50 years or so? Sorry, I have a hard time accepting anything other than that headsets will always be an enthusiast choice opposed to an main steam market accessory.

Unless you live alone or mange to seclude yourself from the real world. People need their 2 eyes to see. Hell, just drinking your drink would require to take them off, VR isn't practical.

How does anything in my post imply that it's a gimmick?

I just said that the tech needs a bit of time to mature (due to currently insufficient screen resolution) and GPUs need to advance a couple of generations if we want a good enough experience with mainstream cards.

loa:

Once people are over the novelty they'll realize how much of a pain those giant heavy goggles are so it'll probably just be another 3d bubble waiting to pop, just like in cinema.

If 300g would be "heavy", then the console market would have collapsed long ago as everyone realized how much pain it is to keep holding huge heavy controllers up while playing.

Entitled:

loa:

Once people are over the novelty they'll realize how much of a pain those giant heavy goggles are so it'll probably just be another 3d bubble waiting to pop, just like in cinema.

If 300g would be "heavy", then the console market would have collapsed long ago as everyone realized how much pain it is to keep holding huge heavy controllers up while playing.

So you strap your controller to your face or something?

DK2 Owner here.

Speaking to the immersion of VR -> It's amazing. Even noting the poor/grainy resolution, I've never experienced anything as immersive. I would argue that more it comes from the sensory deprivation than necessarily sharing the POV with your character. If you put on good headphones and the goggles, nothing exists outside of your experience. It's this that makes me believe it could cross from enthusiasts to mainstream. It just needs the plug and play ability.

Everyone I've shown it too has been so enamored with it. While that may seem to bolster the idea it's a gimmick, those same people have come back time again to want to use it.

Will wait a few years after release to see if price tag is worth it. A reminder, the Kinect was $150 on first release. One year later $30. A year after that given away due to it's failure and software line up that sidetracked many developers from releasing better games. See Fable series.

loa:

So you strap your controller to your face or something?

If anything, the head is easier holding a lightweight object than a half-outstretched arm, so I'm not seeing your point. Would you rather wear a skiing goggle, or carry it around in front of yourself in two hands?

Yeah... never mind that VR was something that had quite frankly a very limited market to begin with. This will basically be a repeat of the Superdisk Era I think..

To those too young to remember... prior to CD's and USBs there was a need for storage larger than a floppy drive but that wasn't a hard drive. but smaller than a tape drive. Enter the Super disk. The SuperDisk and the ZipDisk are the two most famous examples of these... why don't you hear about them nowadays? BEcause there was no cross compatability.

Now the issue here is, will they all use a common standard for VR or will devs have to optimize for each VR individually?

That will be the question. If it;s the former then it will be okay but in that case there is no reason to have more than one developer of such hardware, two at most. O If it is the latter... well then that makes sense MS trying to lock in and control the market buut all that dioes is fragment an already small marget to the point where the pieces become to small to be meaningful.

*rolls eyes* Oh great, here we go again.

Oh yeah, the xbone is going to give a fucking glorious 15FPS 720p VR experience... if it can manage that much.

This seems actively detrimental for the VR thing right now since it will almost certainly offer a shitty experience that will turn people off VR and slow down further development.

 

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