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Rumor: Microsoft Revealing Oculus Rift Rival At E3 2015

Unnamed sources recently said that Microsoft plans to reveal its Oculus Rift competitor during E3 2015 in June followed by a possible retail release sometime in the second half of 2015. The news arrives by way of DigiTimes, which is quoting sources in the upstream supply chain. These sources say that Microsoft's hardware team, the same one responsible for the Surface tablets, is handling the VR headset.

The news shouldn't be surprising; we've known that Microsoft is working on an Oculus Rift/Project Morpheus competitor for some time now. An E3 2015 reveal makes sense given that the Rift and Morpheus solutions are expected to go retail sometime in 2015. Microsoft is essentially a latecomer to the VR retail realm.

Back in August 2013, the USPTO published a Microsoft patent for a VR headset that could be used outside. The patent described a number of head-mounted display devices that may include OLED displays, voice interaction, eye-tracking, facial recognition technology, three accelerometers and three gyroscopes to track the head movement. The patent also described using transparent or partially transparent displays.

According to the patent, the headset would include outward-facing sensors that detect the user's environment, locates other users in the surrounding area, and tracks hand gestures. Users can also see information broadcasted by other Microsoft HMD wearers, including the user's alias, games they're playing and so on. The headset will supposedly be compatible with not only the Xbox One, but tablets, smartphones and Windows 8.1-based PCs.

Rival Sony revealed its visor-style VR headset for the PlayStation 4 back in March (pdf). The specifications include a 90 degree field of view, a 960 x 1080 resolution per eye, an accelerometer and gyroscope, HDMI and USB ports, and a panel size of 5 inches. Morpheus works with the PlayStation Camera, which helps the HMD track the user's head. PlayStation Move also works with the headset, allowing users to wield a sword or other virtual handheld objects.

Meanwhile, Oculus VR was purchased by Facebook back in March 2014. "We're culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest; we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world; and we both see virtual reality as the next step,” the company's blog said. Essentially, Facebook has the funds to make Oculus Rift a big hit on the market.

Still, Microsoft has an extraordinary product to build in order to compete with rivals Sony and Oculus VR. This is why an E3 2015 reveal is so important for Microsoft -- to reel in possible customers before they decide to dump funds into the Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus. The headset will also need enough individuality to push sales of the Xbox One.

The unnamed sources also mentioned that Microsoft is currently working on a Google Glass competitor. Sony is too, which we recently mentioned.

Although we fully expect that Microsoft will unveil its HMD during the E3 2015 press conference, you have to take the DigiTimes report with a grain of salt. Everything regarding Microsoft is mere rumor and speculation until the products are actually announced.

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  • DelightfulDucklings
    Sweet, more competition in the VR area can only make it better for us :)
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    Sweet, more competition in the VR area can only make it better for us :)

    I don't know about that. Software companies will have to split development time between multiple devices, leaving each one less than its potential, because deadlines > quality.
    Reply
  • videobear
    "More competition?" "Better product?" We have yet to see ANY of these products available for the mass market. Time for the hype to stop.
    Reply
  • DelightfulDucklings
    14843914 said:
    "More competition?" "Better product?" We have yet to see ANY of these products available for the mass market. Time for the hype to stop.

    I don't see and problem with these statements, more competition does almost always lead to better products as companies want to have the biggest market share and to get that they generally need to have the best product. That being said it doesn't mean they will be amazing it just means that the products will better than they currently are.
    Reply
  • alidan
    14843914 said:
    "More competition?" "Better product?" We have yet to see ANY of these products available for the mass market. Time for the hype to stop.

    I don't see and problem with these statements, more competition does almost always lead to better products as companies want to have the biggest market share and to get that they generally need to have the best product. That being said it doesn't mean they will be amazing it just means that the products will better than they currently are.

    take a look at the rockband like games, those games weren't bad, but because of a saturation it killed the market
    take a look at 3d movies, because many movies convert to 3d, most people associate crappy 3d with what 3d is, instead of knowing what good 3d is... it killed a tech i was waiting for for years already.

    more competition could kill vr if the first to release sucks and its just a cash grab.
    Reply
  • Zhyr
    Assuming that the APIs for each product work perfectly, there shouldn't be any issue with deadline>quality, though going by the most recent releases, the idea of perfect APIs is obviously a fantasy.
    Reply
  • Dixres
    Correction to the article; the three companies mentioned do not compete with each other at this point of time.
    Sonys Morpheus is focused on the PlayStation franchise. Microsoft will, obviously, go mainly for the Xbox market. Rifts primary concern is PC users while they do aim for a product that works on all platforms.

    Out of the three mentioned products Rift has the most potential. As they are not affiliated with any single brand of consoles they have free hands, so to speak. If you're building a product for an existing platform you always have limits for how far you can go; such as machine specs. For example if Sony wants to build an HMD that works as well as the Rift, they'll have to invest approximately three times as much money into it. Quite obviously this will be visible in the retail price of the final product.

    That's not to say I'm biased towards the Rift. To be honest I would much rather have something made by Sony if it were up to par but currently I wouldn't touch a Morpheus even with a stick if I had an Oculus Rift on hands - purely for the difference in quality.

    I could go on and on about this topic but in the end what matters is that Microsoft will be out of the competition before long. Quite honestly they shouldn't get into the hardware side of business if they know what's good for them.

    And for some predictions on the VR market some 10-ish years from now: Sony will likely hold a marketshare of 30-40% in the VR business while Rift will get around 50-65%. The final 10-15% will be shared between several smaller makers - some of which will grow to be bigger than either Sony or Oculus in a few years time. None of the smaller companies exist yet in 2014 as established companies although some are probably being brainstormed on already.
    Reply
  • alidan
    14847232 said:
    Correction to the article; the three companies mentioned do not compete with each other at this point of time.
    Sonys Morpheus is focused on the PlayStation franchise. Microsoft will, obviously, go mainly for the Xbox market. Rifts primary concern is PC users while they do aim for a product that works on all platforms.

    Out of the three mentioned products Rift has the most potential. As they are not affiliated with any single brand of consoles they have free hands, so to speak. If you're building a product for an existing platform you always have limits for how far you can go; such as machine specs. For example if Sony wants to build an HMD that works as well as the Rift, they'll have to invest approximately three times as much money into it. Quite obviously this will be visible in the retail price of the final product.

    That's not to say I'm biased towards the Rift. To be honest I would much rather have something made by Sony if it were up to par but currently I wouldn't touch a Morpheus even with a stick if I had an Oculus Rift on hands - purely for the difference in quality.

    I could go on and on about this topic but in the end what matters is that Microsoft will be out of the competition before long. Quite honestly they shouldn't get into the hardware side of business if they know what's good for them.

    And for some predictions on the VR market some 10-ish years from now: Sony will likely hold a marketshare of 30-40% in the VR business while Rift will get around 50-65%. The final 10-15% will be shared between several smaller makers - some of which will grow to be bigger than either Sony or Oculus in a few years time. None of the smaller companies exist yet in 2014 as established companies although some are probably being brainstormed on already.

    from what i know, the sony one is also geared for pc's unless something changed, microsoft is an unknown one right now, and the rift is working with everyone who will work with them with consoles as a possibility.

    if you want my bets, the rift is going to split off and become 2 different things, one being the head mount and the second being the sensor hardware, because lets be honest, a display could easily be upgraded over time, hell, cellphones are probably going to try to push the resolution to a absolutely retarded degree, and most of us will probably have our first 4k and 8k device in the form of a phone... but the sensor hardware... they are trying to make that as good a possible right now, so future upgrades will be a bit harder...
    after the first rift with it all built in, the second will be a kit, and the third will be just the display.
    the sony side... they have a hard time competing with anyone quality for cost wise outside of their consoles, and they arent doing to good, so if the rift is successful, i can see them abandoning the hmd race entirely

    now microsoft is in an interesting area, because they hate the pc side of their business so much, and want to be a console or tablet company, there is a good chance they will never adopt the rift and instead try their own and keep making new incarnations of it, if its good... if its bad they will declare it a failure and because really only a few games not made specifically for the rift would be better with it outside of niche "i made a roller coaster and want to ride it" type things, just not allow it at all until they are forced to.

    i mean thinking of it, really all the rift is is a display with some sensors, anything could read them and display... its only a matter of a simple driver... hell if the consoles don't do it the people who hack them probably will figure out how.
    Reply
  • Evarin
    There is still an issue of processing power. Where is this thing drawing its power? It certainly isn't a tablet, and if it is doing its own on board processing, expect SIGNIFICANT latency. The only alternative is that MS developed an entirely new way of powering devices, which seems highly unlikely, though not impossible.
    Reply
  • Murissokah
    Microsoft is essentially a latecomer to the VR retail realm

    They're getting pretty good at coming late. Portable media players (zune?), smartphones, tablets, and now VR.
    Reply