It was well over a year ago that the promise of Xbox streaming to the Oculus Rift was first promised by Phil Spencer during a June 2015 press event in San Francisco. The idea was to allow your Rift to function as a highly immersive monitor for your Xbox console. Every game or Netflix binge could be watched in a massive virtual theater, just like the PlayStation VR‘s Cinematic Mode, rather than your standard 40 inch television set. In the 16 months since Spencer announced the feature the Rift has officially launched and today both companies are making good on this long held promise.
In a posting to the Xbox blog Microsoft officially announced the launch of a new Oculus application that will allow the cross-platform streaming to begin:
“Today marks an evolution in our ongoing partnership with Oculus, as Rift owners will be able to stream their Xbox One library to Rift with the new Xbox One Streaming to Oculus Rift app, including fan favorites like “Gears of War 4,” “Forza Horizon 3” and “Halo 5: Guardians,” the biggest sports games, indie darlings, Backward Compatible Xbox 360 games, and more titles coming in 2017.”
According to the blog, the data will be shared between the two systems via your home’s wifi network. The app will release on December 12 on the Oculus Home store. It will be free of charge.
This streaming app is merely the latest in a long history of collaborations between the PC titan and the virtual reality upstart. Microsoft runs the Rift natively via its latest Windows 10 operating system. It claims on this very blog post that, “Windows 10 is the Best Platform for Playing Games on Oculus Rift.”
In addition to these adulations, Microsoft is also the manufacturer of the wireless gamepad that is included in the box with each and every Rift sold. Finally, the Xbox Scorpio — Microsoft’s upcoming super console — is rumored to have been designed with VR, and perhaps specifically the Oculus Rift, in mind.
In fact, Microsoft is on the record as stating that, in a world that now contains the PlayStation 4 Pro — Sony’s own beefed up gaming box — Scorpio is “the only console” that will be capable of true 4k gaming and high fidelity VR support.
Adding an eyebrow raising wrinkle to this relationship, however, is Microsoft’s recent announcement that it will be opening up Windows to a variety of other, non-Oculus, VR headsets from Dell, Lenovo, and others as well.