Prior to E3, news emerged that Microsoft had filed for a Trademark by the name of ‘DirectReality’. Much speculation then ensued on what the Trademarked technology would be related to, with most analysts believing it would be related to virtual reality (VR) or mixed reality (MR) in some way. Now further information has been revealed by head of Xbox, Phil Spencer.
In a recent live video interview with Giant Bomb, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer offered some details on exactly what the technology would involve. He said that the intention for DirectReality was for it to act as a ‘middle layer’ between software and VR headsets, enabling any VR videogame or software. Spencer said that an ideal situation would be for it to work similarly to how any game can work with any monitor. Spencer further noted that Microsoft have been working with Oculus and Valve on creating the DirectReality layer.
Based upon that description, it seems that DirectReality would work in a similar fashion to how the DirectX graphical API works on current Windows PCs. Windows-based PCs are by far the largest market for videogames aside from consoles, and the vast majority of high-end VR devices run on Windows PCs, so unifying the platforms would seem to be a consumer-friendly move.
However, it is by no means certain that companies such as Oculus would be interested in becoming an effective headset supplier for Microsoft in the way that companies such as Acer and HP are already doing with their Windows 10 VR/MR headsets, so how exactly DirectReality would work in practice is not yet clear.
The move to unify platforms and standards by using a ‘universal’ API such as DirectReality could assist VR in its move towards the mainstream if consumers no longer have to consider if the title they want to play is in the correct walled-garden.
VRFocus will bring you further news on Microsoft’s DirectReality and other new technologies as it becomes available.