Microsoft announced a surprising partnership with Oculus on Friday and will offer an Xbox One controller with every Oculus Rift, plus the ability to stream Xbox One games to the VR headset. Microsoft’s announcement stole the limelight from Friday’s release of Oculus’ final version of the Rift virtual reality headset.
Microsoft partnership could accelerate Windows 10
Microsoft is currently working on its own HoloLens augmented reality headset, but it has not been fully involved in virtual reality until now. To some, the partnership with Oculus Rift might sound irrational as the company is already working on HoloLens, but the aim of Microsoft is to tap all avenues of virtual reality.
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For VR, Microsoft appears to be following a dual strategy; developing its own solution while also keeping a third-party option open. Games can be streamed over the Xbox One to Windows 10 by integrating Oculus. Competitor Sony is putting its trust in VR for the future, but Microsoft is placing Windows 10 at the center of its gaming efforts, says a report from The Verge.
The Oculus Rift-integrated Xbox One controller will have an Xbox wireless adapter, which is only compatible with Windows 10. Therefore, Oculus Rift owners will have to use the latest version of Windows 10. Oculus Rift is compatible with Windows 7 and higher versions, but Microsoft is focusing on getting the maximum number of upgrades to Windows 10, and the new alliance will definitely help with that.
Push to Xbox sales
With the partnership, Microsoft will also garner the major part of the Oculus Rift experience with least effort. Initially, Oculus will not be compatible with Mac or Linux, which will benefit Microsoft in giving it a head start.
The partnership could also help in closing on the gap with Sony’s PlayStation, which has been leading the gaming console market. Microsoft boasts of the greatest game pipeline in Xbox history, and if it continues with this strategy, it is very likely to succeed in gaining market share.
Virtual reality is dominated by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, and Sony is one of them. There was no timeline given for the launch of Valve/HTC’s VR headset, but Sony’s Project Morpheus VR headset will be launched early next year.
As of 9.40 am Eastern on Friday, Microsoft shares were down 0.39% to $46.21, and year to date, the stock is down by almost 2%.