At the Microsoft press conference at this week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Xbox has announced some exciting new equipment and an unexpected partnership.
The Xbox One Elite Controller
Marketed as “an elite controller for elite gamers,” the, well, Elite Controller is a souped-up gamepad that emphasizes customization. You can customize thumbstick sensitivity and completely remap the buttons. The thumb sticks, D-pad, and new paddles on the underside of the controller can all be swapped out for different ones.
The Elite Controller will work with Xbox One and Windows 10 machines. It will be available this fall, with the price to be announced.
EDIT: Microsoft has announced that the Elite Controller will cost a truly elite $150. Expect it in October.
Microsoft Partners With Valve on Virtual Reality
Just last week at an Oculus Rift event it was revealed that Microsoft was partnering with Oculus to make sure that it is compatible with the Xbox One and Windows 10. The Oculus will even come bundled with an Xbox One controller.
Microsoft doubled down on its VR initiative today when it announced that they also have a partnership with Valve, which is producing the HTC Vive headset. The HTC Vive, when it is released, will officially be compatible with Windows 10. We had a demo of Valve’s virtual reality a few months ago, which you can read about here.
The Oculus Rift will have the capability to stream regular, non-virtual-reality Xbox One games. When you put on the headset, you’ll be transported to a virtual home theater. There are currently no Vive-exclusive games announced, but it’s likely that the Vive will also be able to play Windows 10 games, functioning as a fancy head-mounted private screen.
With these moves, Microsoft has shown that it is not interested in gambling on who will win the VR market. Now that two of the major VR competitors will be compatible with Windows 10, Microsoft is showing its confidence in the future of virtual reality. I would go so far as to say Microsoft is looking ahead to a time when virtual reality hardware is mainstream.