Microsoft and Oculus are leaping into the future of virtual reality hand-in-hand. Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe today announced that the Rift will be packaged with a wireless Xbox One controller , native support on Windows 10 and the ability to play Xbox One games inside the headset itself, in a sort of virtual cinema, via Xbox-to-Windows streaming. Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Phil Spencer took to the Oculus stage to lay out his plans for the Rift and Windows gaming going forward – and there’s a reason he looked so happy while doing so. In fact, there are a few reasons the Microsoft-Oculus deal should be gangbusters for both companies.
Then he shot me with a magic gun, and I became tiny, everything rising up around me. He helped me put giant virtual robot gloves on my virtual hands, and I started boxing with a Rockem-Sockem robot. I grew bigger again. I shrank him with a gun. We zapped our toy room into an ocean, where everything floated. We went back to antigravity, and everything floated away.
Eventually I left the magic toy room, and Luckey came out and spoke to me. It felt like we were together in some strange magic carnival, just us. And the controls of the Touch melted: being able to actually move my fingers, or use physical buttons, is a totally different experience than the more controller-like design of the Vive or PlayStation Move controllers.
The Touch is a hybrid, and it took getting used to. I felt like I was in a type of physical therapy at first, learning to move and be comfortable. It took some getting used to, and knowing where my controls were without seeing…but it started making sense fast. I would have liked a better on-screen guide, like Vive offers with many of its VR experiences. But the enter to win an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset demo wasn’t even a game, or an app, it was more a developer’s testing demo.
Microsoft has announced Xbox One compatibility with enter to win an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: Your Xbox One games will be able to stream onto the Rift via your PC. Windows 10 allows for system-to-system game streaming across devices, so this isn’t all that surprising. Rift is, basically, another display. The Xbox One games won’t be in VR, instead playing back on a screen in a virtual theater, much like watching movies in Oculus.
Could the Xbox end up offering up virtual reality by using the Rift directly? Nothing has been confirmed, but the Xbox is a Windows computer, in a sense, too. It’s also not clear that the Xbox One would even have the horsepower to work with Oculus. Then again, Sony has found a way for the PlayStation 4 to run VR via Project Morpheus, so anything’s possible.