Most of the press conferences for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019 earlier this month were completely devoid of virtual reality (VR) news and that obviously included Microsoft’s event. The Redmond-based company revealed a sneak peek of its next-gen console codename ‘Project Scarlett’. This week a rumour has surfaced that the console will supposedly support the Oculus Rift S.
The rumour comes from the lads over at the Coffee & VR podcast, who were told by a trusted source on their Discord channel that there could be a tie-in between Project Scarlett and Oculus Rift S. Now nothings been confirmed in any way, shape or form, and unlike the Xbox One X E3 announcement (Project Scorpio) which mentioned VR then suddenly dropped it, the Project Scarlett revealed featured none of that.
So it’s a little fanciful to think it might happen, but on the other hand why not? In fact, it makes even more sense now (or in Holiday 2020 when it’s due to arrive) than back in 2016. Why’s that you may ask? Well look at it this way, the previous Oculus Rift needed a minimum of three USB ports to operate the headset and all the sensors. Now with Oculus Rift S’ inside out tracking all of that is history, plus the fact that Project Scarlett will come with a DisplayPort connection, which Oculus Rift S just so happens to have.
And then there’s the little matter of PlayStation VR. Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has not only got a massive headstart on Microsoft with a successful headset, but it has also confirmed PlayStation VR will be supported by PlayStation 5. That’s a market Xbox might not want to miss out on for much longer. Microsoft’s own platform Windows Mixed Reality has gone nowhere with new devices like HP Reverb looking towards the enterprise market. By bringing Oculus Rift S onboard there would be no catching up to do, especially if all the titles were ported or made cross-platform/cross-buy. Plus, those ties with PC are getting stronger thanks to Xbox Game Pass compatibility.
However, plenty of this has been discussed before, mainly due to Oculus’ original deal with Microsoft which saw Xbox One controllers packaged in with the original Oculus Rift pre-Oculus Touch.
If this does turn out to be real then further information may come during Oculus Connect 6 (OC6) in September. With a dual headset launch having taken place in May, it’ll be highly unlikely Oculus will mention new hardware, yet there’s usually some sort of big announcement at each event. Should that happen, VRFocus will let you know.