Despite the fact that VR has become a major staple in the world of technology, don't expect it to come to Xbox One. Even though competitors like Sony are embracing it, Microsoft has no plans of implementing VR tech into their consoles - in the foreseeable future, at least.
Ever since it debuted in 2001, the original Xbox console paved the way for Microsoft in the gaming industry. It became a major competitor in console wars beside Sony's PlayStation 2 and Nintendo's Game Cube, and subsequent models like the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, One S, and One X have played a significant role in revolutionizing modern gaming. That said, Microsoft isn't especially keen on gravitating towards virtual reality and mixed reality tech, despite its popularity, and are instead focused on implementing that sort of technology into their PC platform.
At E3 2018, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Mike Nichols spoke with GamesIndustry.biz about the direction in which the company is headed with budding technology like VR and MR. Though stating that PC's open platform functionality is better suited for VR and MR, he explained that they are more interested in traditional gaming for the time being with their Xbox consoles. And though Nichols didn't specify whether or not the lack of VR technology would transfer over to future Xbox consoles (like the upcoming model, which is reportedly codenamed "Scarlet" and expected to release in 2020), it will definitely not be featured on current consoles. And on the topic of evolving next-gen gaming, Xbox Executive Vice President of Gaming Phil Spencer explained that Microsoft is predominantly interested in delivering "the benchmark of console gaming," suggesting that VR and MR technology weren't part of that initiative. Nichols said:
"Our perspective on it has been and continues to be that the PC is probably the best platform for more immersive VR and MR. As an open platform, it just allows faster, more rapid iteration. There are plenty of companies investing in it in the hardware side and the content side, or some combination therein. Obviously on phones, augmented reality is a good scenario as well that's going to grow. But as it relates to Xbox, no. Our focus is primarily on experiences you would play on your TV, and ultimately we'd like to make those experiences more broadly."
As far as Microsoft's competitor Sony goes, the PS4's experimentation with VR comes in the form of the aptly named PSVR headset. It's still in the process of gaining mass traction with gamers, but that's not to say it's been a failure. In fact, during E3, a number of developers announced the release dates of future VR-related games, like Bethesda Softworks' Wolfenstein and Prey VR experiences, as well as Zoink's Ghost Giant and Squanch Games' Trover Saves the Universe.
Microsoft may be right in gearing their focus specifically on perfecting the traditional gaming experience, but it remains to be seen whether or not they'll regret jumping on newer tech sooner rather than later. That said, given that Nintendo is interested in revolutionizing the gaming experience and Sony is interested in experimenting with it, Microsoft might be making the smart move in not spreading themselves too thin, so to speak.
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