Finally, after years of waiting and wondering, the vr headset is right in front of our faces, and it’ll be available soon. The Oculus Rift is set for full in just a couple months, with the first wave of the recently announced preorders being shipped on March 28. Meanwhile, Samsung has been pushing another, more affordable headset, the Gear VR, to the masses. Though these devices were contrived with two very different audiences in mind, we nonetheless thought it would be fun to compare the two in a savage battle for the Metaverse!
Of course Microsoft will have to deal with compatibility and software issues on its own end, but the company doesn’t have to build and maintain a VR headset for itself – Oculus is doing that. Handing off hardware production is a calculated risk on Microsoft’s end, considering Oculus has a solid track record of producing stellar, industry-standard VR experiences, plus it has the financial backing of Facebook. As far as trusting a VR company, Oculus is a good bet.
And then there’s the gamepad. Shipping the Rift with an Xbox One controller puts Xbox at the forefront of VR developers’ minds. Even after years of production without a consumer release, Oculus remains the highest-profile VR headset in the industry – and now it’s linked directly to the Xbox One. Microsoft suffered a blow to its gaming cred with the bungled announcement of the Xbox One in 2013, heightened by corporate backpedaling and the console’s top-of-the-market price point All the while, Sony emphasized games – indie games, AAA games, free games and discounted games.
Now, it’s time for Microsoft to change the narrative. Xbox used to be the place for new, innovative and wild games – before the current console generation, the Xbox 360’s Indie Games and Arcade sections provided marching orders for the industry. With the PS4, Sony is king , and Oculus might be Microsoft’s best chance at reclaiming that crown. Oculus’ $10 million initiative to help indie developers make games for the Rift is a great start.
Besides, there’s a sly kind of mic-drop in all of this: Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said in 2014 that Morpheus was not an open system , and just a few months later Iribe told us that he wasn’t intimidated by Sony’s push into VR In fact, he’d invited Sony to see early Rift prototypes, and Sony in turn invited him to check out Morpheus. All the while, Microsoft kept quiet, worked on HoloLens and integrated the Rift into Windows 10.
This is all well and good for Microsoft, but what does Oculus get out of this deal? Simple: The Xbox One controller. Plenty of gaming hardware companies have tried, and failed spectacularly , to create Oculus Rift contest the perfect traditional gamepad. Oculus has its own, two-hand controller system that might be great – but if it isn’t, the Xbox One gamepad is something that most players already know and love.