Last year, when Microsoft announced the highly anticipated Xbox One X console – known then as Project Scorpio – the company said that their super-powerful home console would be VR-ready. Despite that announcement, Microsoft didn’t announce any plans for VR experiences at this year’s E3, and with recent comments from the company, it sounds like VR might not be coming to Xbox anytime soon.
In an interview given to GameSpot, Dave McCarthy – Microsoft general manager – said that the company was purposefully focusing on the PC gaming platform for the time being when it came to their VR and AR ambitions, will similar plans for home consoles being put on hold, at least for the moment.
“Our focus right now is admittedly on the PC space,” said McCarthy.
“So we look at Windows 10, we see an open ecosystem for developers. We see a huge installed base of half a billion monthly active devices on Windows 10. And we say that feels like the right area of focus right now [for VR/AR].”
He went on to add that VR has yet to find a “killer experience” – stating that VR remains a novelty to the majority of consumers, and that so far it had failed to find a wide audience among consumers.
“I would say developers are still finding their way to define the killer experience there, which is great at this point in its evolution overall,” said McCarthy.
“We believe in it enough that we have several of our first-party studios actually working on content for our Windows 10 devices. We’ll have more to talk about later this year on that.”
Earlier this year, Microsoft had made reference to VR support for its coming Xbox One X console – however this has since been amended, with the company clarifying that the console will, at some point in the future, offer “high-fidelity VR experiences”, however they have so far declined to offer any further details.
The Xbox One’s chief competitor – Sony’s PlayStation 4 – already offers a VR headset, with the release of PlayStation VR las year. The headset – which has so far sold over 1 million units since it’s launch – is the only VR headset for home consoles, however with the coming release of Microsoft’s new Xbox One X console, it remains to be seen how VR would work with the console, and whether this would be developed by Microsoft or if an existing device – such as the Oculus Rift – would instead get Xbox support.
In Novemeber last year, around the time the PSVR was launched, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that he believes that VR will eventually “find its spot” in gaming, but that it might not be soon, adding that “We designed Scorpio as a VR-capable console. Whether that happens this year, next year, or the year after…”
“I don’t think the creators in the game space have yet found–well, they haven’t obviously perfected the craft of building VR games,” added Spencer.
“It’s so early; I think we’re a couple of years before we’ll really see that hit mainstream.”
The Xbox One X is scheduled for a release this November, and is expected to retail for around £449 at launch.