Prepare your supple faces, gamers: you’ll be able to strap on the Oculus Rift VR headset and stream Xbox One games directly into your eye sockets when the device ships next year.
Oculus and Microsoft announced the capability today during an Oculus presentation where the company that kicked off the current virtual reality revolution also unveiled a bunch of details about how its headset will work. The Rift will ship with an Xbox One gamepad, and Oculus showed off some Nintendo Wii-like wristband controllers called Oculus Touch as well. You can watch the full presentation here.
Among other tidbits, Oculus revealed it’s expecting to start shipping a consumer Rift unit in the first quarter of 2016 (up to now only developer kits have been available, and in short supply), and that the company is creating a $10 million fund for indie developers to create software for the headset. That seems like a solid investment of a small amount of the $2 billion Facebook spent to acquire the company last year.
If there’s anything that sounds like it might help attach Rifts to gamer heads, it’s the Xbox deal, though. Pairing with Microsoft brings a fair number of games to users as soon as they get their headset, provided they have the console and a Windows 10 PC to bridge the Xbox and the headset.
The Oculus Rift is very, very cool, although as Microsoft’s Kinect, the PlayStation Move controllers and Nintendo’s Wii have shown, novelty can only carry you so far. Plus having a thing strapped to your face makes it tough to engage with other humans. If you thought girlfriends, boyfriends and kids were annoying while they play games before, wait until they can’t see or hear you screaming at them for the 80th time to put their dishes in the dishwasher.
Then again, that’s sort of the point of virtual reality—that it’s better than actual reality, right? Who cares about loved ones and dishes when you’re immersed in another world?