Is VR ever coming to Xbox?

June 21, 2017

 

Recently, during the week of e3, Microsoft has made some very curious comments about VR and the Xbox platform. To say there's been mixed messages coming out of the gaming behemoth is an understatement. In the beginning of the e3 week, Xbox marketing chief Mike Nichols told the Wall Street Journal that Microsoft was going to skip VR support for the Xbox One.

 

"The opportunity on PC is larger, because the install base is larger and we think the customer experience will be better on PC."

 

The Wall Street Journal's original report on this topic sent shock-waves throughout the VR gaming industry, as an actual Xbox representative claimed that VR wasn't going to happen on Microsoft's shiny new console. As news spread around the internet for this shocking turn of events, it seemed that Microsoft went into damage control mode, with Phil Spencer releasing a statement refuting the Wall Street Journal report. Phil Spencer, told CNET that the Xbox One X will indeed support Virtual Reality, and that Microsoft's commitment to it hasn't changed. However, he made other comments to Gamespot suggesting that maybe VR wasn't a big concern for Xbox. He said that he hadn't recieved many requests for Mixed Reality on consoles but that he was open to the idea if gamers demand it.

 

Phil Spencer also appeared on Giant Bomb, and told Jeff Gertsmann that VR in the living room could be "years" away. He suggested that maybe the living room wasn't the right place for VR. He again re-iterated the fact that he thinks mixed reality should incubate on the PC first, and then maybe come to the console later, when it's wireless.

 

I found the "years away" quote to be particularly curious. My assumption has always been that Xbox One X would get it's VR headset in November 2018. This is well over one year away from now, and it would make sense for them to stagger two relatively expensive products, in two separate 4th quarter launch windows. However, Phil Spencer mentioned both years away, and wireless. While wireless VR headsets should be coming soon, a relatively affordable one for Xbox customers would seem several years away at least. Just how long will Xbox owners have to wait for some type of VR support? I personally wouldn't make any plans for VR on Xbox till 2019 at the earliest based on all of these lukewarm responses from Microsoft.

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