Is Microsoft finally ready to enter the VR gaming space? The company has so far resisted and outright ignored VR gaming, but that may be about to change. According to recent patents filed by the company. The patents suggest that the headset will have features such as eye-tracking, haptic feedback, and a detachable visor.
While gaming giants like Facebook and Microsoft's main rival Sony have already gone big on VR gaming, Microsoft has shown little interest. The company's HoloLens AR platform is enterprise-focused, while the Xbox Series X | Series S consoles do not have VR support.
As the technology matures and the metaverse becomes a more defined product, VR gaming has the potential to become more popular. There is certainly no rush for Microsoft as the VR gaming market is nascent, but it makes sense the company is making developmental moves behind the scenes.
The patents, which were published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, describe a “head-mounted display device” that can be used for “immersive gaming and other applications”. The device would have a front-facing camera, a microphone, speakers, and sensors to track the user's head movement and gaze direction. The device would also have a detachable visor that can be removed to switch between VR and AR modes.
Details of Microsoft's First-Ever VR Headset
One of the patents also mentions that the device would have haptic feedback capabilities, such as “vibrating elements” and “air jets” that can simulate tactile sensations on the user's face. The device would also have a wireless connection to a gaming console or a PC, and could support multiple users in a shared virtual environment.
It is unclear if Microsoft will focus the headset on Xbox or Windows branding, or even Surface. Xbox is the most likely. As always with patents, there is a chance Microsoft has no intention of releasing this headset and is simply covering its IP bases.
Even if the headset is destined for consumer release, it is likely still years away from a launch. Microsoft is clearly happy to see how the early VR gaming market plays out before committing to it. A VR headset could be seen towards the end of the current Xbox generation or even early into the next one.
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