Getting cozy with Oculus also frees up Microsoft to work on its own, new projects, such as HoloLens. With this partnership, Microsoft is free to focus on developing a product in a field that is currently devoid of competitors: augmented reality. Whichever way the industry turns -- in favor of either VR or AR -- Microsoft is prepared.
And then there's the gamepad. Shipping the Rift with an Xbox One controller puts Xbox at the forefront of VR developers' minds. Even after years of production without a consumer release, Oculus remains the highest-profile VR headset in the industry -- and now it's linked directly to the Xbox One. Microsoft suffered a blow to its gaming cred with the bungled announcement of the Xbox One in 2013, heightened by corporate backpedaling and the console's top-of-the-market price point. All the while, Sony emphasized games -- indie games, AAA games, free games and discounted games.
Now, it's time for Microsoft to change the narrative. Xbox used to be the place for new, innovative and wild games -- before the current console generation, the Xbox 360's Indie Games and Arcade sections provided marching orders for the industry. With the PS4, Sony is king, and Oculus might be Microsoft's best chance at reclaiming that crown. Oculus' $10 million initiative to help indie developers make games for the Rift is a great start.