New Microsoft patents may signal virtual reality hardware for the next Xbox, codenamed Project Scarlett. And, if they are truly indicative of what the Redmond company is working on, Microsoft will be going all in.
According to our sister site GamesRadar, Project Scarlett could fully embrace VR with a variety of devices. Originally found by Twitter user WalkingCat, two patents originally filed in March 2018 have been published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The patents relate to a “six-degree-of-freedom input device” and a “virtual reality floor mat activity region.” Both patents have schematics that show other devices, like a stylus you operate on the air, motion controllers for virtual reality use, something that looks like the Xbox Kinect camera, and a VR headset.
While this doesn’t indicate that Microsoft is planning to bring VR to the next Xbox, everything is aligning for it to happen. First, virtual reality is getting more popular and mainstream every day. Second, Project Scarlett has the kind of firepower that you will need for a very high resolution VR headset that could compete against Oculus and Sony.
In addition, Sony is clearly working on new VR developments for the next generation PS5 while investing in games like Iron Man VR. And while Sony has the apparent lead, Microsoft has the knowhow to create an immersive VR experience, both for body and hand gesture capture thanks to its history with Kinect and Hololens.
And lastly, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has said before that Microsoft is definitely interested in VR for the Xbox. It’s hard to believe that all these factors — and the patents — will not converge in a real product. Virtual Reality has reached a stage mature enough to jump into the mainstream and I don't think Microsoft can afford to miss this wave.