Xbox chief Phil Spencer explains the partnership between Oculus and Microsoft


Yesterday, Oculus held a flashy event to show off the consumer model of their Rift headset, new games in development for the device, and a potentially groundbreaking new input method for VR experiences. Despite all this exciting tech, however, one of the most intriguing stories to come out of the presentation was just how much we saw of Microsoft.

From Xbox One controllers being bundled in with the Rift to Xbox One games being streamed to the device in a virtual living room, it came as a surprise to many to see just how closely Oculus is working with Microsoft. Now, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has discussed that partnership in an interview with International Business Times.

Spencer described the relationship as ‘nothing too complex,’ suggesting that the business element of Xbox One controllers being bundled with the Rift is as simple as Oculus buying them in bulk from Microsoft. He also referred to the Rift’s Xbox One compatibility as little more than two companies “working collaboratively on things that we’re good at.”

While Spencer took care to downplay any financial benefits of the collaboration, and eager to play up his employer’s role in providing support to grow an ecosystem, Microsoft’s involvement has to be seen as a response to Sony’s Morpheus. With the PlayStation’s proprietary VR headset likely to be a focus at E3 this year, Microsoft had to counter with something for its Xbox.

Nothing said yesterday indicated that we’ll see the Rift being outfitted with full Xbox compatibility, but given the close working relationship revealed between Oculus and Microsoft, it’s not outside of the realms of possibility. Spencer also noted that the Rift focuses on an area that is completely distinct from the Hololens, which would seem to leave the door open for more collaboration between the two parties in the future.