Two recently surfaced Microsoft patents indicate that the tech giant’s next-generation Project Scarlett Xbox console may feature a significant virtual reality component.
The first patent describes a “six-degrees-of-freedom input device,” while the second mentions a “virtual reality floor mat activity region.” Included in the documents are images of a boundary mat, stylus and motion controllers — all of which are intended for use in virtual reality experiences. Further, a VR headset and Xbox Kinect camera can be seen in some of the sketches.
While it’s unclear where Microsoft may intend to introduce VR, the most logical device would be its upcoming Project Scarlett console, which is set for launch in holiday 2020.
This would be particularly notable since no Xbox console has supported virtual reality. Meanwhile, rival Sony offers the premium PlayStation VR peripheral for PlayStation 4, while Nintendo has a lower-cost VR option in the form of Nintendo Labo VR for the Switch.
However, Microsoft has expressed an interest in the past to bring VR to Xbox. In 2016, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said the 4K-capable Xbox One X (codenamed Project Scorpio at the time) would support high-end VR. While that never ended up happening, Spencer has said he’s “long-term bullish” towards, and a “believer in,” VR technology.
For now, though, little is known about Project Scarlett. So far, Microsoft has confirmed that the console will be four times faster than the Xbox One X and support up to 120fps. The console will be backward compatible with all previous generations of Xbox consoles and support current Xbox One accessories. Finally, Halo Infinite will be a launch title.
However, specific games lineup, pricing and features have yet to be revealed.