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.

Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?

Hololens 2 could give the Always Connected PC a new, ‘aggressive’ form

Microsoft is said to be leaning on Qualcomm to power its Hololens 2 headset. Instead of Intel CPUs, the next Hololens could use a Snapdragon 850 processor, allowing it to benefit from the always-connected features.

The most common Xbox One X problems, and how to fix them

The Xbox One X is a brilliant console, but it's not without its issues, ranging from simple annoyances to severe hardware problems. Here are common Xbox One X problems and how to fix them.

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

These are the best video games you shouldn't leave 2018 without

Developers showed up with a number of amazing games this year. Each capitalized on something unique but there's always one that outdoes them all. Here are our picks for the best video games of 2018 and game of the year.

The NES Classic is back in stock just in time for the holidays

The NES Classic is back in stock at multiple outlets at its original launch price of $60 in time for Christmas. Retailers offering it online are Walmart, GameStop, Target, and Best Buy -- if you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for…

Some ‘Fortnite’ players aren’t too happy with the new Infinity Blade weapon

The most recent update for Fortnite added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to battle royale, and some players aren't happy with how much it has changed the game during competitions.

Soulja Boy’s ‘new’ console appears to include stolen Nintendo games

Rapper Soulja Boy recently released his SouljaGame console, and it includes several emulated games that appear to be stolen from companies like Nintendo, SNK, and Capcom. A handheld version is also available.

Razer’s classic DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse drops to $40 on Amazon

If you're looking to pick up a new gaming mouse for the holidays, Amazon has you covered with this great deal on the classic Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse with customizable buttons, RGB lighting, and a 16,000 DPI optical sensor.

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

Skateboarding legend says ‘Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam’ will appeal to his fans

Tony Hawk's Skate Jam is now available for free on iOS and Android devices, and Digital Trends had the chance to talk to the legendary skater about its development and how it captures the magic of his best games.