Video May Have Revealed Microsoft’s Xbox One HMD
Did Microsoft just give us an unintentional peek at its rumored Xbox One head-mounted display?
In a new MS video demonstrating the video capture capabilities of the Xbox One, there are numerous shots of what appear to be a very unique-looking pair of glasses. You can see for yourself in the video below. The glasses appear almost immediately and can be found below the lower right corner of the demo television.
Here’s a still as well as a close-up image of the object in question:
To be clear, Microsoft has never officially announced it is working on an HMD or, dare we say, its own Oculus Rift competitor, and the “glasses” are simply something we spotted while watching the video. In other words, this is all just speculation at this point.
However, there is some circumstantial evidence that indicates an Xbox One headset is, indeed, in the works, and this could be it. Emphasis on could.
Back in June 2012, a 56-page document, reportedly created by Microsoft about the “Xbox 720″ was leaked to The Verge, revealing MS’s planned roadmap for the new console, Kinect 2, and something called Project Fortaleza, which was described as a “breakthrough heads up and hands-free device.” Few details were provided about the tech, but the document stated Microsoft planned to launch Fortaleza after the launch of the Xbox One sometime in 2014.
Then in August 2013, Microsoft trademarked a “multiplayer gaming with head-mounted display” device with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Here’s what Microsoft patented:
A system and related methods for inviting a potential player to participate in a multiplayer game via a user head-mounted display device are provided. In one example, a potential player invitation program receives user voice data and determines that the user voice data is an invitation to participate in a multiplayer game.
The program receives eye-tracking information, depth information, facial recognition information, potential player head-mounted display device information, and/or potential player voice data. The program associates the invitation with the potential player using the eye-tracking information, the depth information, the facial recognition information, the potential player head-mounted display device information, and/or the potential player voice data.
The program matches a potential player account with the potential player. The program receives an acceptance response from the potential player, and joins the potential player account with a user account in participating in the multiplayer game.
It’s also worth noting the video in which we spotted these glasses is hosted by Soho Productions’ Lead Developer Kyle Lampe. Soho is the Microsoft studio dedicated to creating “experiences not bound by the definitions of television or gaming. These are experiences where watching and participating are inseparable and combined together into never before seen products.”
Back in September, Eurogamer interviewed Soho studio boss Phil Harrison and asked if MS planned on supporting Oculus Rift or creating a VR headset of its own. Here’s how Harrison replied: “There are many business and technical reasons that would have to be overcome, so I’m not going to talk specifically about any brand or partner. But we’ve put USB 3.0 ports on Xbox One to facilitate high bandwidth connection with peripheral devices, so technically you could imagine a wide variety of devices being attached to Xbox One. What those actually are and when they show up is a different discussion.”
With the Oculus Rift wowing everyone who tries it, and Sony reportedly working on a VR headset of its own for the PlayStation 4, it’s reasonable to think Microsoft also wants to hop on the virtual reality train with the Xbox One in some form.
We’ve contacted Microsoft with the images we captured from the Xbox One video and requested a comment. We’ll update this post with any response.