Microsoft planning PSVR2 rival suggests newly discovered patents

Microsoft did make the Hololens but it’s not really used for VR gaming (pic: Twitter/HoloLens)

It’s believed Microsoft is going to start dabbling in VR gaming, but the current state of the industry is likely putting the company off.

While the company is no stranger to VR technology, Microsoft hasn’t really made many strides in VR gaming, especially when compared to Sony which has now launched two VR headsets for its PlayStation consoles.

Even the Nintendo Switch has some VR support, thanks to the low-tech Nintendo Labo line, yet there’s never been a dedicated Xbox VR headset.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer did say, back in 2019, that VR wasn’t much of a priority due to a lack of interest from customers, but the situation may have changed if some recently spotted patents are to be believed.

Obviously, patents don’t always end up being used, but they do give some insight into what companies are at least considering. In this case, Microsoft seems particularly interested in eye tracking systems.

This comes from two patents which were filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation last summer and were only published this past April.

Initially spotted by Gamesual, one is for ‘enhanced eye tracking systems utilising joint biological and hardware estimations’ and the other for a ‘head-mounted display with eye-tracking system.’

The immediate assumption is that both can be applied for VR tech, especially the head-mounted display which just sounds like a VR headset.

The patent for the enhanced eye-tracking systems also reads: ‘The device may also operate with semi-transparent lenses that allow the user of the device to concurrently view computer generated renderings as an overlay on real-world objects in the user’s surrounding environment.

‘Such configurations may also include display components that enable the device to operate as an augmented reality device or a virtual reality device.’

A VR headset that’s just a pair of glasses sounds like a dream (pic: WIPO)

The real question is whether Microsoft has such technology in mind for gaming or if it’s purely for work purposes, like its Hololens headsets. Those do come with a few exclusive games installed, but its primarily used for things like programming and 3D modelling.

Given the rise in VR gaming, it would make some sense for Microsoft to start considering changing its tune, but it has also not been as profitable a venture as companies like Sony and Meta have hoped.

Despite the popularity of its Quest headsets, Meta’s VR division has lost a lot of money trying to make VR gaming mainstream and in lieu of any official sales figures from Sony, it’s believed its PlayStation VR2 hasn’t been selling particularly well, to the point where one analyst thinks it already needs a price cut.

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It has been claimed, though, that the PlayStation VR2 has been doing well compared to other VR headsets. Twitter user Lewrian has compiled estimated sales figures for every major VR headset’s first 40 months on the market and with the PlayStation VR2 reportedly pushing at least 270,000 units so far that actually means it’s had the strongest launch of any of them.

That does beg the question of why Sony is being so cagey with official figures, with analysts expressing concern after the company barely acknowledged them in its recent financial results.

Plus, a strong start doesn’t guarantee long-term success and sales could have begun slowing down to a crawl. In fact, one analyst has claimed that Sony has already slashed its PlayStation VR2 production plans by 20% and that the entire VR business is in dire straits in general, which is no doubt what’s putting Microsoft off from getting involved.

These are all the reported and estimated figures of all major VR headsets in their first 40 months on the market. 🤷‍♂️ If the 270k-300k estimate is true, PSVR2 has actually had one of the best launches for a VR headset ever & THE best for a wired headset based on only 1 month.. 🤷‍♂️

— Lewrian (@lewrian) April 10, 2023

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