It appears as though Xbox is playing the long game.
Compared to competing gaming platforms, Xbox is way behind the curve in terms of VR. Headsets such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have made PC the go-to platform for a majority of AAA VR developers. Meanwhile, Sony is effectively dominating the console VR space with the Playstation VR. Even Nintendo has gotten in on the action via Nintendo Labo VR.
Microsoft’s Xbox, on the other hand, has remained continuously skeptical of VR technology and its place within modern entertainment. Based on a recent interview with Xbox head Phil Spencer, it sounds as though this attitude is unlikely to change any time soon.
Earlier today, gaming-themed podcast Gamertag Radio released the 1,000th episode of their long-running show during which Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, appeared as a special guest in honor of the occasion. During the interview, Spencer expressed his excitement regarding the newest piece of Xbox hardware, the Xbox Series X, including his relief after seeing fans respond so positively to its surprise reveal.
“The response has been great, but to be completely honest with you…it could have been a disaster. The decision was actually really pushed forward by one of our marketing leads. She just stood up in a room and she said, ‘we should go do something bold, something we’ve never done before… let’s face it, we’re not in the market position we wanted to be in in this last generation – I don’t think we’re going to get to disrupt and grow our business just doing what we’ve always done.”
In addition to the Xbox Series X, Spencer provides additional insight into the companies plans regarding VR. Spoiler alert: it’s not looking good:
“We’re never going to close our eyes to where things are going,” said Spencer in regards to the companies position on VR. “I don’t hope it goes away; I hope it gets bigger. I hope it’s something that’s just so important that it’d be a no brainer for us to go support it.”
It appears as though Microsoft is banking on other companies doing the heavy-lifting before entering the market; a smart decision considering the relatively somewhat turbulent state of modern VR. The adoption rate of VR headsets has been slower than initially expected, with companies continuing to spend hefty sums as they experiment with new hardware.
Then again, with Facebook consistently selling out of Oculus Quest headsets and the release of Half-Life: Alyx just around the corner now might have been the perfect time for Xbox to have begun dipping its toes in immersive technology.
For more insight on the future of Xbox, check out the full conversation here.
Image Credit: Microsoft Xbox