Executive Vice President of Gaming at Xbox Phil Spencer has said that Virtual Reality (VR) is not a focus for Xbox Project Scarlett, Microsoft’s upcoming console.
Speaking in an interview at XO19 to Stevivor, Phil Spencer said:
“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. 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.”
Spencer apparently later added that “nobody’s selling millions and millions [of VR units]”, but obviously, Microsoft has to look at it from a business point of view. Largely what is being said here is that more people are interested in multiplayer experiences, Fortnite springs to mind there.
I have both a Vive and PlayStation VR, and I have to say the majority of times I break them out is for parties. So perhaps there is a more communal experience that is being overlooked. On top of that, there are things like The Void, who offer fully immersive VR experiences, and even VR arcades popping up. Obviously this isn’t to say that should consumer opinions change, that Microsoft won’t adapt along with it.
Phil Spencer finished with:
“I think we might get there [eventually]. But yeah, that’s not where our focus is.”
Considering that Sony, Facebook, Valve and a lot of others are all fighting for a VR spot right now, it makes no real sense for Microsoft to start trying to crowbar the Xbox brand into the mix. Each headset is trying to find a unique position, whether that is being cheapest, or highest quality. It’s a tough market to break into.
Do you think Xbox should try to join the VR market? Are you excited for Project Scarlett? Let us know in the comments below!
I’ve worked in the gaming industry for around 10 years, in journalism and QA. I also run Hampshire’s biggest charity gaming event, the Southampton Game Fest.