Virtual Reality (VR) is a growing market, and the kind of technology that we have at our disposal these days have made it more possible and such imagined worlds to be far more realistic than ever before. This has seen a somewhat upward growth trajectory in the VR games market, and it does not look as though it is going to stop anytime soon. The console market too, has seen VR creep into it -- with the PlayStation VR, while other smartphone manufacturers have also entered the fray like the HTC Vive and the Samsung Gear VR, not to mention the other heavyweight in the VR gaming world, Oculus Rift. How about Microsoft? It would be unbecoming of them to be left behind in this scene, which is why they have taken the opportunity at GDC 2017 to announce that there will be an Xbox One VR headset that is in the pipeline which ought to see a release in the near future.
It was in 2016 that Microsoft did make mention of plans to introduce VR headsets in the future. These will be no ordinary VR headsets, but rather, the ones that are able to handle mixed reality alongside the Windows 10 Creators Update. This particular project has since been revealed to be Windows Mixed Reality at GDC 2017, and the initial batch of development kits will begin to ship later this month. The Acer VR headset that you see above? Developers are able to snag one for themselves at $299 a pop. To see PC-powered VR headsets that run on Windows 10 is one thing, but to have it on the Xbox One platform is another.
Microsoft’s Alex Kipman shared in a blog post, “We’re also excited to share that Windows Mixed Reality experiences will light up on other devices over time, beyond desktop and Microsoft HoloLens. Our plan is to bring mixed reality content to the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio, in 2018.”
Project Scorpio is used to refer to the next generation Xbox One console that will be able to handle true, blue 4K gaming that will blow away your eyes with its visuals. Not only that, Project Scorpio is also widely expected to be able to handle high-end VR as well as HDR content without missing a beat. Right now, Microsoft is playing second fiddle to its great video game rival, Sony, especially in the VR realm as the PlayStation VR has shifted approximately a million units to date.
Microsoft does seem to prefer to make use of the phrase “mixed reality” as opposed to AR (Augmented Reality) or VR, but we do know that these are more or less interchangeable. Perhaps mixed reality would invoke a sense that they are embarking on something new as opposed to playing catch up. As for the Acer VR headset that was revealed, it does come with a pair of high-resolution liquid crystal, 1440 x 1400 displays, a 90 Hz (native) refresh rate, integrated audio out and microphone capabilities, a single cable with HDMI 2.0 (display) and USB 3.0 (data) for connectivity.