Microsoft has enabled a long promised feature for their games console the Xbox One, the ability to stream games into a VR environment via a headset attached to a PC.

Microsoft has been making significant strides to strengthen its offerings and stance on immersive technologies. The company has made several significant announcements regarding Windows 10, partnerships with Valve and more recently revealing Windows will host several new affordable 3rd party virtual reality headsets in 2017.

More significantly, last year it revealed that its next games console, codenamed ‘Scorpio’ will be built with hardware designed to supply “high fidelity virtual reality” to a console audience and will arrive some time in 2017. Scorpio is of course Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s recent ‘mid-cycle’ console refresh with the PS4 Pro, a souped up version of its predecessor which delivers near 4k and HDR gaming as well as promised (albeit ill-defined) visual enhancements to games built for the company’s recently launched PlayStation VR (PSVR) headset.

VR Comes to Xbox with 'Project Scorpio' Console, Launching in 2017

phil-spencer-project-scorpio-1In the mean time, another Microsoft promise which may have been forgotten by many, has now been kept – enabling the feature for Xbox One games console owners to stream Xbox One games to their PCs and to play those games inside a PC attached VR headset. The announcement originally formed part of a special media event which saw the reveal of Oculus’ consumer Rift VR headset as well as the recently launched Oculus Touch motion controllers. Forming part of a deal to ship Xbox One wireless gamepads with every Rift, a short demonstration was made during the presentation depicting a gamer donning a headset and enjoying Forza Motorsport projected onto a large, virtual screen whilst that user was wearing an Oculus Rift. As such it should be clear this functionality is only available for Oculus Rift and (of course) Xbox One owners. This feature was enabled yesterday.

PlayStation VR on PS4 Pro vs. PS4 Comparison

The ability to play Xbox One games on a screen larger then many could afford in real life is an interesting idea, and indeed we’ve written before how effective this technique can be in practice, but it of course should not be confused with ‘real VR’. To put it less glibly, the immersion benefits for playing games this way will probably be largely minimal for most – specially those used to VR experiences in general.

Those who wish to try it (and we’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below), can grab a new app from Oculus Home. The system offers multiple environments in which to view games as well as adjustable viewpoints.

Nevertheless, as much as this new feature will be regarded by many in the VR community as a gimmick, it does once again affirm Microsoft’s commitment to the immersive gaming space and provides a stopgap to more a more concerted, conclusive step into the VR space with Xbox Scorpio and the expansion of Windows powered VR headsets next year.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • nebošlo

    I was able to do this before in the Bigscreen app and the various environments therein. Why is this better?

    • care package

      streaming through the Windows 10 app (which is what you have to do still for Bigscreen) FOR ME has always had just a bit of latency making any MP games uplayable through it (even through an all wired connection), not to mention my controller will lose connection. My experience with the VR app is 0 latency 0 controller disconnects and that was with the Xbox on wireless. MP games are playable through it. Great option if my projector breaks and I can’t pay for another one.

  • Demongo

    I can see it now…

    “Welcome ….”

    “Looking for your XBOX one”

    … stutter … lag … stutter …

    “Looking for your XBOX one.”

    beep … “There are 17 new updates to install”

    “Looking for your XBOX one..”

    beep … “Error 10061: Your network is unavailable”

    “Looking for your XBOX one…”

    beep … “A new version of Java is available”

    “Looking for your XBOX one….”

    thinks … maybe I should have just bought the PC version of the game

    thinks… oh that’s right I can’t do that any more

    “Looking for your XBOX one….”

    says … “Has somebody turned the XBOX off?”

    • nebošlo

      Xbox to PC streaming has worked fine for over a year now. This new thing is just streaming to your VR environment – which has also been possible for a good while now and works fine.

      • Demongo

        As Microsoft quietly release a patch to fix the patch from the end of last week that broke DHCP in a percentage of their installed base.

        I’ve been programming software for Windows since 3.0 and I can’t say I remember a time when I’ve been less sure of the reliability of the network stack. 98 may have been a pig but at least once you got the networking running reliably it didn’t just decide to boot up and say there isn’t a network on random days of the week.

    • PrymeFactor

      Are your ‘jokes’ always this unfunny, or perhaps you’re just stuck in the ’90s?


  • Jona Adams

    Like, 10 people are going to try this. What a waist.