Oculus and Xbox create VR tie-up

Oculus and Xbox create virtual reality tie-up

Oculus showed off the consumer version of its Rift headset and a prototype VR control system called Touch

Oculus VR has shown off the version of its virtual reality headset that will be sold to consumers, and revealed it will come with an Xbox One controller.

The Facebook-owned company also revealed it is working on its own handheld controller system called Oculus Touch.

The Rift headset will be released early next year. Until now, only a “developer” version had been sold.

It will compete with rival VR headsets such as Sony’s Morpheus and HTC’s Vive.

Google has made a more basic entry into the market with its Cardboard product, which uses a person’s smartphone to create a VR effect.

The deal with Microsoft means Oculus owners will be able to stream Xbox One games to the headset and see them as if they are being viewed on a huge “home cinema” screen.

Microsoft’s gaming boss Phil Spencer made a surprise appearance at the event to introduce the partnership.

The Rift headset will be sold with a sensor fitted to a stand and an Xbox One gamepad

But he did not discuss whether the Xbox One would offer VR games of its own – allowing players to experience immersive 360-degree views – via the headset.

However, Mr Spencer hinted that more information would be shared at next week’s E3 conference in Los Angeles.

The firm said that sensors built into the helmet track the user’s head movements with low latency

“The Microsoft deal with Oculus seems like a risk-free way to try and undermine Morpheus’ advantage,” commented Piers-Harding Rolls, a video games industry analyst at the IHS consultancy.

“But streaming XBox One games… is not going to sell Oculus.

“The video of the experience didn’t look compelling.”

Sony’s rival Morpheus headset runs games powered by its PlayStation 4 console

‘Something huge’

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said his firm had been looking at new ways for gamers to interact with virtual reality beyond using a console gamepad.

He showed off the prototype Oculus Touch system, which consists of two wireless handheld controllers fitted with buttons, joypads and sensors.

He said they were designed to make sense of the kinds of gestures people made naturally with their hands.

Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, said the launch put Oculus in the “driver’s seat” in the VR market.

“With Facebook’s resources it has a huge head-start over rivals and its already delivered two iterations of its developer platform,” he told the BBC.

“Furthermore, it’s the brand that is synonymous with virtual reality technology.”

Mr Luckey said that the new controllers – Oculus Touch would offer gamers a new kind of experience
One video game teaser showed the user experiencing a first-person view in an ice hockey match

Crowdfunded origins

The Rift headset began its life as a crowdfunded Kickstarter project, raising $ 2.4m (£1.5m). It was later bought by Facebook for $ 2bn in 2014.

“We consider virtual reality has the potential to be one of the most disruptive technologies for a decade,” said Mr Wood.

“You only have to look at the huge investments being made by companies like Facebook, Google, HTC, Sony and many others to realise we are on the cusp of something huge.”

Jason Rubin, head of Oculus Studios, introduced some early titles designed for the Rift, including Eve Valkyrie, a first-person shooting game, and role-playing game Chronos.

Oculus’ head of development strategy Anna Sweet also announced a $ 10m fund for independent developers to spur on the creation of games for the platform.

Attracting developers to the Rift will be critical to Oculus’s success, said Brian Blau, an analyst at Gartner.

“They’re all going to be competing hard for those developers to support their platforms – that’s where you’re going to see the real competition,” he said.

“Games developers are going to have a lot of difficult choices to make.”

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

BBC News – Technology

  1. I got this site from my buddy who shared with me regarding this site and now this time I am browsing
    this website and reading very informative posts at this place.

  2. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s
    a very easy on the eyes which makes it much
    more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
    Fantastic work!

  3. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any
    widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter
    updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with
    something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  4. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and
    sources back to your weblog? My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would really benefit from a
    lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this
    ok with you. Thanks a lot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.