Last night, we got our first look at Microsoft’s latest hardware reveal. The tech giant has been working on something called “Project Scarlett” for some time, with the public knowing that it would be the next generation of the Xbox console. Not only did we get a chance to see the hardware last night, but we also had the chance to see a few game clips that were recorded with the newest Xbox.
Even though the presentation from Phil Spencer took all of five minutes, we learned a lot from the head of gaming over at Microsoft. About three minutes into his presentation, Spencer said he had a project to reveal that was “early in development.” This left everyone watching on the edge of their seats. Was this going to be Spencer’s transition into saying he was wrong about VR and that they were working on a console headset? Was the head of gaming going to finally give the virtual community what they wanted? Well, he didn’t do either of those and he actually just showed us some gameplay from the newest console.
Xbox Series X – What is it?
We aren’t going to beat around the bush. Most people connected in the gaming community have already seen the shape, and no one is complaining. This is a big rectangle box, and if you put hands on it, you could get away with it being a refrigerator. The power of this machine makes the shape irrelevant, as this is expected to be the most powerful pure gaming machine the world has ever seen. It is already being compared to some of the most powerful PC’s with gaming capabilities in the entire world.
Phil Spencer reportedly said that the Series X console will provide nearly four times the CPU performance of the Xbox One X, the most powerful hardware on the market right now. It also will be boasting twice the GPU power, something that seems impossible. This would put the Series X around 12 teraflops of graphical performance, which would more than excuse the big box that is turning into memes all across the internet.
The route Microsoft is taking with the Xbox is clear. They want to create a gaming system that is easy to access from the living room couch but don’t want to deviate from the power of their gaming PC. Clearly sitting on the couch with a controller is much more simple and laid back than setting up your gaming PC. Now the Xbox is finally going to compete with PC power, and possibly bringing more customers to the platform.
Meaning in the name?
Since the release of the Xbox One, the company has been releasing the high-end model followed by the hardware that is slightly less powerful. Because the name has the word “series” in it, you can expect another console to be on the way. We aren’t going to spectate on the name of the other hardware, but you can nearly know for a fact that more hardware will be coming out during the holiday season of 2020. Microsoft was smart enough to not worry about releasing in front of the millions watching the event, but they will be releasing some sort of hardware announcement in the next few months.
Could the Xbox Series X play VR?
If this was a simple matter of having the ability, Xbox and Microsoft would have been able to launch a VR headset with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. The answer is yes, the Series X is going to be the most capable VR gaming console on the market by next year. With that being said, we know that the PS5 is going to have virtual reality support, so the hardware and software is going to be perfect for that. But if Xbox wanted to support virtual reality, they would, by far, have the most impressive hardware capable of virtual reality. But will they?
Virtual reality is demanding on any hardware system, regardless of the power. With that being said, we are confident that if Microsoft wanted to run virtual reality with Series X, they could do it without offloading any external computing. This would make it incredibly easy to run any VR system, which is a perfect transition into our next topic of discussion.
Oculus, others, and Xbox
Phil Spencer is set on the fact that no one is asking for VR from Xbox, but that is the following mentality. No one was asking for Disney to make their own subscription service, but they did and the digital world is eating it up. Not many people are begging Xbox to make their own hardware, so the company could use that to their advantage. We don’t have the official specs of the Series X just yet, but if they have e the compatible ports in the back of the machine, this could be a home for any virtual reality headset.
More and more laptops and PCs are becoming VR ready, and the Xbox Series X will join that list next year. Xbox doesn’t need to create their own hardware, they just need to be a home for other headsets and other VR operating systems. The easiest way to do this is to allow the newest Xbox to turn into a PC temporarily, making a home for whatever VR setup you choose to run.
This would be a much cheaper and easier alternative to creating their own VR hardware, but it would ultimately take away from their sales potential at the end of the day. If this idea was successful, you would see a new home for VR devices that is likely to be cheaper than the entire VR PC hardware setup. Pairing the Xbox hardware with the inside-out tracking of the Rift S, you could see an easy to access VR setup that would make its way to new homes all across the globe.
When would we see Series X VR?
If Microsoft decided to change directions and get some VR support for their upcoming console, we wouldn’t see that announcement until the middle of next year. If the company wanted to build their own hardware, they would need to announce that as soon as they have the specs so developers could get started on some games for the platform. With that being said, Xbox owns a handful of VR developing talent, making it a perfect storm if they decided to release some exclusives first.
If Xbox decided to simply add support for the existing VR headsets, they could make that announcement any time leading up to the release of the new Xbox hardware. It would come as a shock to many if Microsoft and Xbox decided to take that gaming route, but we are confident that the community would be in full acceptance and the adoption wouldn’t take long at all.
With all of that being said, we doubt Microsoft will make a play towards virtual reality any time before the launch of their already hyped hardware. The Xbox Series X is going to be the most impressive gaming console up to date, and that should be enough to satisfy any gamer. For more virtual reality news, gaming news, and community updates make sure to check back at VRGear.com