Phil Spencer, the Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft, has recently said that VR is not, and will not be a focus of their upcoming gaming console. Project Scarlett is the next project and the console expected to be released by Microsoft. It isn’t official what this new console will bring. We know higher graphics and a slight increase in fps, and of course, no VR.
Spencer says that customers don’t associate Xbox with VR, and they don’t expect it from the brand either. Some of the decisions to not include VR with this new project comes down to simple cash, as “nobody’s selling millions and millions” of VR units as of now.
Spencer went on to say “I have some issues with VR — it’s isolating and I think of games as a communal, kind of together experience. We’re responding to what our customers are asking for and… nobody’s asking for VR,” Spencer said. “The vast majority of our customers know if they want a VR experience, there’s places to go get those. We see the volumes of those on PC and other places.”
“I think we might get there [eventually],” Spencer concluded. “But yeah, that’s not where our focus is.”
It is incredibly odd to see these comments from someone as high up in the company be so down on an up and coming product. It seems like his comments are more of a following mentality than a leading one, and that isn’t a good spot to be in. Five years ago, not one single person was asking Facebook for a standalone virtual reality headset, and look where they are now. They have the biggest reach inside of the community and the highest-selling headset of all time. The fans may not be asking for a VR console headset from Xbox, but we are certain there would be some great adoption from the gaming console community.
PlayStation virtual reality didn’t have the strongest adoption right out of the gate, but persistence from Sony and developers bringing titles to the headset made the adoption process much faster than expected. Not many people were asking Valve to release their own headset either, but it turned out to be the best product we have seen on the PC end of virtual reality gaming yet.
There is a lot to love about new products, and we’re hoping to see one for the console and the Xbox. Microsoft’s PC VR headsets are slowly dying off, and that may be paying a real factor into the company being hesitant with making another model, even if it is for the console. Microsoft has had multiple designs not succeed on the market, and making one more bad model could be the nail in the coffin for the company’s hope for virtual reality gaming.
Microsoft may be simply waiting for a gap in the industry to release another headset. We know the PS5 and the second version of PSVR are going to have some overlap, so that may be the time Microsoft is aiming to gauge how much interest the console gaming community really has in the Xbox adding VR support. Let us know in the comment what you think Microsoft’s big plan is! For more VR news and gaming community updates, make sure to check back at VRGear.com.