Microsoft looks set to join the smart glasses party with Kinect Shades for Xbox One

Watch out OculusRift and Project Morpheus - there could be a new headset in town
Microsoft looks set to join the smart glasses party with Kinect Shades for Xbox

Microsoft is reportedly working on its very own headset to rival the Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus.

Unlike its rivals however, Microsoft's offering is expected to make use of augmented reality as opposed to full-blown virtual reality.

Like Google Glass, that means that you'll still see the real world around you, while virtual objects are overlaid onto it.

We first caught wind of Microsoft's plan for AR glasses back in June 2012, when the Xbox One's roadmap was leaked online. 'Kinect Shades' were mentioned in the copy, and it's believed that this is the codename for Microsoft's AR glasses.

Then, back in August 2013, a Microsoft patent outlining a head-mounted AR display was spotted online, detailing how it could be used to augment multiplayer gamins.

The glasses were described as having the ability to recognise voice data, as well as making use of eye tracking information and overlaying HUD information in the real world.

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft is in the process of applying for over 80 VR patents, and it's dropped a substantial US$150 million to buy the necessary assets from wearable company Osterhout Design Group.

While Microsoft hasn't actually acquired the company in the same way Facebook bought Oculus VR for US$2 billion, it's safe to say that Microsoft is hoovering up as much expertise as it can in a bid to perfect its AR glasses.

Sony has already revealed its Poject Morpheus VR headset for the PS4 at GDC 2014. While we won't have a next-gen console war for quite a while to come, it looks like we're set for a headset war a lot sooner than anticipated. Bring it on...

READ MORE: Xbox 720 to drop in 2013 with Kinect 2 and AR glasses?

[TechCrunch via Tech Radar]