Ars can confirm that at least one major developer is currently planning to release a new virtual reality game on the Xbox One in 2017 and plans to show that game at E3. The news lends credence to multiple recent reports suggesting Microsoft is planning a more powerful, VR-compatible Xbox One for 2017.
The information was provided to Ars directly by the developer as part of pre-E3 planning and was confirmed by a PR representative. Ars isn’t at liberty to discuss the name of the game or the specific developer, but we can say that a well-known European studio is planning “a new VR game” set in the universe of an established, long-running franchise.
The game is also being planned for release on the PC and PS4, and while it seems likely the E3 demonstration will be on one of those platforms, the PR representative was clear that an Xbox One version was also being planned. The game’s working title contains the word “VR,” strongly suggesting this isn’t merely a VR-compatible game that happens to have a more traditional Xbox One version.
Unlike Sony, which plans to launch the $399 PlayStation VR in October, Microsoft has been coy about any console-based virtual reality plans. Back in 2014, a Microsoft executive said the company was waiting to “see how the VR space develops” before making the leap into any sort of VR solution for the Xbox One.
But recent reports based on anonymous sources suggest a new, more powerful Xbox One—to be announced at E3 next month and released in 2017—will be compatible with the same Oculus Rift headsets that currently run on Windows-based PCs. At least one developer seems to be working as if those reports are true, based on the information provided to Ars.
Back in 2013, Oculus cofounder Palmer Luckey said that current consoles are “too limited for what we want to do” with the Oculus Rift. “The problem with consoles in general is that once they come out they’re locked to a certain spec for a long, long time,” he said at the time. “Look at the PCs that existed eight years ago. There have been so many huge advances since then. Now look at the VR hardware of today. I think the jump we’re going to see in the next four or five years is going to be massive, and already VR is a very intensive thing, it requires rendering at high resolutions at over 60 frames a second in 3D.”
Microsoft previously partnered with Oculus to package a wireless Xbox One controller with the first consumer version of the Rift headset, which launched in limited quantities in March.
Sony is also widely expected to announce a more powerful version of the PS4 at E3, though the PlayStation VR headset is designed to work on existing PS4 systems as well.