Microsoft is officially adding “mixed reality” gaming to its Xbox One family of game consoles. Today at the 2017 Game Developers Conference, the company revealed that support for its mixed reality technology will be added to Xbox One consoles sometime in 2018. That includes Project Scorpio, the code name for the upcoming high-end Xbox One console that’s due to launch sometime in late 2017.
Microsoft uses the “Mixed Reality” term for the upcoming lineup of headsets that it claims will merge virtual content with the real world. The company’s HoloLens standalone headset is the first such example of its mixed reality plans. However, Microsoft is working with third-party OEMs to develop cheaper headsets that are tethered to a PC. Today, Microsoft revealed it is shipping the first Windows Mixed Reality Development Edition headset, made by Acer, to select software creators. The first PC-based headsets are supposed to be sold to the public sometime in 2017.
Microsoft didn’t offer any more details on its mixed reality plans for the Xbox One or Project Scorpio, including if the company is making any first-party mixed reality games for the consoles themselves. When those console-based products launch in 2018, they will be competing with Sony’s PlayStation VR headset, which launched in October 2016 and has already sold 915,000 units, well ahead of Sony’s own projections.
Microsoft first launched the Xbox One in 2013 and in 2016 it released the Xbox One S, featuring a slimmer case and a slightly more powerful CPU and GPU that allows it to handle 4K video and HDR color for games. Project Scorpio will be able to handle games in full 4K resolution, thanks to its eight-core APU, with 320 gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth, along with 6 teraflops of graphical computing performance, which is four times the amount compared to the Xbox One, and lower than the PlayStation Pro’s 4.2 teraflop performance. All Xbox One games, along with any Xbox 360 game that is currently backwards compatible with the Xbox One, will be able to be played on Project Scorpio’s hardware.
What do you think of Microsoft officially entering the “mixed reality” race for the Xbox One in 2018? Is the timing just right, or is it too late to compete with the PlayStation VR, which will have a huge lead by the time Microsoft releases its headset? Let us know your opinions in the comments!