Microsoft partners with Valve on VR, shows off new HoloLens version of Minecraft

Microsoft HoloLens
Microsoft HoloLens
Microsoft’s E3 stage show included no shortage of tantalizing titles for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, but one of the biggest surprises was the time the company dedicated to VR gaming. At Monday morning’s conference, Microsoft announced both an important new partner, and VR compatibility for one of the most popular games on the market — Minecraft.

A new partnership with Valve will make its VR headset, the Vive, compatible with the Xbox One. Microsoft announced a similar partnership with Oculus just last week, which will see the Rift shipping with an Xbox One controller, and the ability to stream Xbox One games through Windows 10 PCs.

But Microsoft’s VR announcements didn’t stop there. It will introduce a new version of Minecraft that takes advantage of Microsoft’s “mixed-reality” hardware, the HoloLens. Microsoft had previously displayed the HoloLens’ reality-augmenting features back in April, but this was the first live demo of the system’s gaming capabilities.

In an on-stage demo shown from the perspective of someone wearing the HoloLens, a Minecraft world was projected onto a table, where presenters used voice commands and gestures to manipulate the environment, peeking inside buildings by leaning into them and exposing underground caverns by lifting them up by hand. The game will also support traditional controllers, but Microsoft emphasized what would be possible through these more intuitive controls. It was an impressive display, and the world-crafting gameplay of Minecraft seems like a perfect fit for the mixed-reality system.

Microsoft’s VR partnerships and Minecraft adaptation show it’s ready to push into VR in a big way, but it won’t be alone at the show in making that thrust. The Swedish game studio Starbreeze promises to make a splash with its high-res, wide-angle StarVR, and Oculus showed off their Rift headset at a pre-E3 conference the other day. Sony has yet to show off their new Morpheus headset, so we’ll have to wait and see what comes of that.

Photography

Adobe MAX 2018: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Gaming

Have problems with your Xbox One? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games out right now

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Gaming

Who needs a sharpshooter when you have our 'Fortnite' shooting gallery guide

Fortnite season 6, week 4 challenges are here and with it comes the shooting gallery challenge. We show you where to find the shooting gallery locations and what kind of guns to use.
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for October 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles as well as bundles that feature games like Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Computing

'World's best gaming processor'? We put Intel's new i9 through the ringer

Intel has launched the first Core i9 for the average gamer. Despite some controversies around its release, it’s the fastest gaming processor we’ve yet tested.
Gaming

Rockstar Games employees defend work culture following controversy

Rockstar Games employees have taken to social media to speak out about working conditions following the controversial comment about 100-hour work weeks made by co-founder Dan Houser in an interview.
Home Theater

They’re not just for gaming: Watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

While the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boost the visuals of your games, they also can pull double-duty as Blu-ray players, but there's a bit of set up needed. Need help? Here's our guide on how to watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and X.
Gaming

More days gone: Sony moves zombie exclusive ‘Days Gone’ to April

Sony has delayed the PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone to April. It was previously bumped from a 2018 release window into February, 2019, but Sony Bend apparently needs more time to add polish.
Gaming

Annual game releases are boring. Try a quirky indie game for the PS4 instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.
Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ adds Black Market system to dress up your soldier

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 added the Black Market system to PS4 today, giving players new ways to unlock and acquire additional customization items, such as outfits for Specialists.