Microsoft is entering the virtual reality conversation with a one-two punch: partnerships with both Oculus and Valve VR. The Oculus Rift will be bundled with a wireless Xbox One controller, native support on Windows 10 and the ability to play Xbox One games in a virtual cinema via Xbox-to-Windows streaming. Valve VR joins the Rift on Windows 10, a partnership that Microsoft announced during its Xbox E3 conference, suggesting a focus on gaming in Valve's virtual worlds. But, Microsoft's VR plans may be bigger than just two other companies, Microsoft General Manager of Games Publishing Shannon Loftis suggested during an interview at E3 this week. Read her thoughts on VR, gaming and Windows 10 below.
What's going on with Microsoft's Valve VR partnership?
What we're focused on is creating a Windows 10-based ecosystem that extends to as many different platforms and experience types as possible. VR is incredibly important. Gamers have told us that it's important; game developers want to use it to tell stories in a special way.
We want to make it easy for game developers to deliver to gamers, so we are partnering with a broad array of VR providers -- we've talked about Oculus; we've talked about Valve -- to make sure that when people are creating these experiences that they have as many choices as possible.
To clarify, are you working with any other VR hardware manufacturers, besides Oculus and Valve?
None that we're talking about right now, but a Windows 10-powered pipeline that extends to a lot of different outlets is a great value for developers and in turn a great value for gamers.
Are virtual and augmented reality the future of gaming?
Different game experiences play best in different settings and I think virtual reality is an incredible experience when you're totally immersed in a universe, and I love the inherently social nature of console gaming. I don't really see any of them going away because I think there are still great stories to tell and great games to build for all of these.
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