Skip to main content

Why Windows Mixed Reality and 'Project Scorpio' Xbox should be a killer combo

We're still a ways away from the official Project Scorpio unveil, but there are already plenty of reasons to be excited. One big feature that has mostly lacked definition was how the "high-fidelity VR experience" was going to play out. The general assumption was Windows Mixed Reality would play a significant role in this addition to the Xbox gaming experience, and that strategy became a lot more clear during Microsoft's day-two Build conference keynote.

With the addition of motion controllers for Mixed Reality, it's clear the Xbox VR strategy is not only going to be a complete solution right out of the gate but also an experience that blows away the competition.

Windows Mixed Reality on Project Scorpio has the potential to sidestep all of these flaws in a single release.

It may not be cool to admit this on a Microsoft blog, but PlayStation VR is actually kind of amazing. The headset is well made and looks sharp, despite its apparent low resolution, and game developers have created some uniquely compelling experiences. That said, its flaws are numerous. The light-based tracking system can be clumsy if your lighting isn't just right, the cable system connected to the sync box is confusing, and PlayStation Move motion controllers are mediocre at best when compared to the HTC and Oculus offerings.

Windows Mixed Reality, Project Scorpio Xbox, and next-level VR

Windows Mixed Reality on Project Scorpio has the potential to sidestep all of these flaws in a single release. The Acer headset we've used so far is the lightest full-VR headset you would want to buy, and its single cable is very much a simple plug-and-play solution with no extra hardware. You don't need a Kinect sensor, and you don't need to worry about lighting or reflective surfaces. These Mixed Reality headsets are designed to be dead simple to set up and use.

But the real stars here are the new motion controllers. By design, the Windows Mixed Reality controllers will be more accurate and less fuss than PlayStation Move. The controllers are tracked using the same inside-out system as Hololens and the Mixed Reality headset itself, relying on the sensors on the front of the headset to help determine position. As long as your hands are in front of you, which they always will be for a game or app, this setup is likely to be vastly superior to the current PlayStation VR setup.

There's also price to consider. The complete PlayStation VR launch bundle with camera and controllers and a starter game kit was considered a bargain in the VR world at $499 when it launched. The Acer Mixed Reality bundle is coming in at $399 and is expected to be everything you need to connect to a PC and get going in VR.

Microsoft hasn't confirmed anything yet, but how great would it be if that bundle is just as plug-and-play for Project Scorpio? That would mean not only is Xbox VR a more compelling experience, but it would start at a $100 less than PlayStation VR. At this point, it's all speculation, but the groundwork now exists for the Xbox team to really blow everyone away with an impressive and comparatively inexpensive VR offering alongside Project Scorpio.

More: Everything we know about Project Scorpio

Russell is a tech nerd who chases the best of everything, from phones to game consoles to laptops and everything glowing or beeping. He's the Managing Editor of gaming content for Mobile Nations and can be found contributing to all of the Mobile Nations sites. Reach out on Twitter!

20 Comments
  • Well he did say at the end of the conference to stay tuned to E3 for more on mixed reality.  That to me pretty much confirms Project Scorpio VR using these headsets and controllers.  Can't wait.
  • I had this thought the moment they showed the Motion Controllers.
  • "As long as your hands are in front of you, which they always will be for a game or app, this setup is likely to be vastly superior to the current PlayStation VR setup." If this is going to require that your hands are always in front of you, it seems it will become annoying very quickly. If a game or section of a game doesn't require your hands in front of you, a natural and more comfortable position is to put them by your side or, if sitting, on your lap. Am I misunderstanding something here?
  • Yes. When I wrote that, I meant you won't be able to reach behind your back to do things like you can in some Rift/Vive titles. The sensors will be able to see your hands in your lap just fine.
  • I don't think it's an issue. Even with Oculus Rift (2 sensors) and PSVR, you can't do much when your hands are behind you. I think we can still asume all buttons are still functional even if you can't see them, and probably still has basic motion detection like wii remote controller, but just not accurate position / location. From my personal experience with VR, it really doesn't matter if your hand position is accurate if you can't see them.
  • It all depends on what the FOV of the cameras in the front of the headset is. Having to be directly in front of you in a 30deg FOV (15 either side or up and down) isn't going to be great. Human binocular vision is limited to about 60deg. More than that and you can see things in your peripheral with one eye, but you lose depth perception because your other eye can't see it. Something more like 120deg would be fairly reasonable and give you reasonable accuracy with your peripheral. Anything outside of that would really require you to turn your head or avert your eyes to get a good focus. Most VR headsets only have a display FOV of about 100-110deg anyway. Your hands wouldn't be visible on the screen outside of that, but for tracking purposes, it should really be wider.
  • Cant wait!!!!!! Scorpio is going to be the best console ever.
  • Maybe these will be a new Kinect as well. Tracking uses kinect sensors on these headsets
  • As exciting as all of this is for gaming, I find the virtual assistant quite interesting. If the AI assistant really works in the way the video portrays, that would be nice. Either way, I see Kai and Cortana being viable AIs. Considering Cortana is the AI being pushed, maybe Kai's framework will be added to Cortana.
  • Kai was the name of the Japanese co-worker. The AI assistant didn't have a name.
  • I would be stoked if that were the case because it's exactly the "assistant" I've wanted on my phone, maybe not quite as chatty but just as autonomous.
  • Got any games for it?
  • Impressive.  It's not bad to praise competing platforms where praise is due.  The PSVR is cool. But, as you said, the resolution was a super bummer. It was the only buzz kill I had while playing Battlefront Star Wars.  Interesting times ahead, for sure!
  • Unfortunately this was supposed to be what Kinect did without sensors on you. Too bad they gutted the first version on 360 before release. Imagine where it would be today if they didn't.
  • Hey, it's Xbox360 Camera, err, I mean Project Natal, err, I mean, HoloLens, err, I mean another gimmick!
  • Hey the 360 cam was great on uno. Xbox porn lol.
  • Looks like fun
  • Looks exciting, but i think it won't be only for PC and Project Scorpio, it has to be for Xbox One also and i guess it will, Microsoft is not stupid, if PS4 has their own VR, Xbox One have to have one too...
  • I could be wrong, but I don't believe the original Xbox One or the Xbox One S have the hardware specs to run something like this. If you want it, you'll have to upgrade to Scorpio.
  • On PC Intel graphics are supported