Virtual reality, while interesting, has only begun to come into its own in the last few years, offering players an immersive new way to play games, assuming enthusiasts can get past the living space and cost barriers. However, Xbox notably hasn't taken a crack at virtual reality in any major way, despite its competitors dabbling in the tech. That may be changing soon, though.
Xbox recently launched its Xbox Wireless Headset, a new option for users looking for something similar to PlayStation's Pulse 3D Headset. So far, the new hardware has been fairly well-received by critics, but that detail hasn't been the most interesting thing about the release. Instead, an error menu spotted by IGN Italy's Giovanni Marrelli seemingly hints that Xbox is working on a VR headset, or possibly compatibility with third-party headsets.
Upon connecting the headphones to an Xbox Series X console, Marrelli received an error message proclaiming that "the VR headset needs to be updated." While that on its own could be brushed off as some sort of coincidence, other messages made continued references to VR headsets, like "An update to the VR headset is available" and "Update VR Headset." Altogether, it indicates that some sort of virtual reality compatibility is in the works for the console, albeit it's impossible to tell what.
Microsoft is dabbling in AR technology and has been for some time, so it's not outrageous to think that VR technology could make its way to the Xbox ecosystem. Headsets are a central part of the wider virtual reality experience, as it's a critical component in keeping players engaged with an experience. With that in mind, it's understandable why an Xbox console might have misread headphones as a VR headset.
PlayStation is working on PSVR 2, and the Oculus Quest has stayed popular throughout the pandemic. There's certainly a competitive space emerging for Xbox to launch its own project in. With the company working to secure more exclusives for the Xbox brand, it's possible that the company is looking for a killer app to bring users to its own virtual reality headset.
The question now is when Xbox might reveal such a device. Currently, both the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles are nearly impossible to find, so production on a VR headset might be an unnecessary distraction. However, it could be the company's big reveal for June, where Xbox will presumably host a major event similar to the ones traditionally hosted at E3. That is, of course, speculation, but an Xbox VR headset would certainly be interesting to see.
Xbox is going into the current generation with a multi-pronged strategy. Acquiring new studios to not just bolster, but multiply Xbox Games Studios' output of exclusives is just one facet of that strategy. Picking up big Xbox Game Pass additions, like the recently announced Outriders, is also an important aspect of the plan. Now Xbox fans can get excited about another prong of attack, as Xbox is reportedly now pursuing partnerships with third-party studios for long-term exclusive franchises.
The report comes from Windows Central editor Jez Corden via the Xbox Two Podcast. During the podcast, Corden says that he's heard from an unnamed source that Xbox is pursuing partnerships with "some big third-party studios." Those partnerships are said to be not just in pursuit of exclusives, but for bigger Xbox projects that could potentially last a decade.
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