Virtual reality (VR) may have some big backers in the likes of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Facebook and Valve but once again Xbox is staying well away, even whilst heaping praise on those developing the space. In a recent interview, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has once again said VR isn’t of interest with software remaining the core focus for the console.
Spencer recently spoke during the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech live event (paywalled), when asked about VR he responded by saying: “I think that when we think about immersion, we think about mixed reality, virtual reality, I’ll even take it to ‘metaverse’, which seems to be the buzzword of the day now,” reports VGC. “We’re big believers in that software platform and the devices that will enable that. Absolutely. [But] we’re focused a lot more on the software side of that right now. When I think about immersive worlds and I think about the connection of a player and community, that’s something that’s very high on our investment list.”
While Xbox is digging deep when it comes to providing its gamers with the best content, Spencer still acknowledged the work being done in the VR space. “I think that the hardware innovation that’s happening is great and it’s an important enabler, [but] right now I’m deciding to stay more in the software side of that enablement. I believe it will scale better in the long run.” He went on to say: “And you know, I applaud what Sony‘s doing, I applaud what Oculus is doing, what Valve has done. I mean, there’s a lot of good players out there that have done some amazing VR work.”
This has been Spencer’s general response to the VR question for several years now, although he has previously been a lot harsher in his responses. It’s all Xbox’s fault in the first place when Spencer himself mentioned VR in his E3 2016 keynote address when talking about Xbox One X – then Project Scorpio. It was after that mention that Xbox quickly avoided any talk of VR.
The Xbox team might want nothing to do with VR at the moment but that’s not the case over at Microsoft or even Microsoft Game Studios. The tech giant already has devices like HoloLens 2 – as well as a consumer version – and Windows Mixed Reality on the market. On the studio side of things Microsoft owns the likes of Bethesda, that’s created VR titles and inXile Entertainment (Frostpoint VR: Proving Grounds). And let’s not forget Microsoft Flight Simulator.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Xbox, hopefully, one-day reporting that it has finally embraced VR.