First of all, is there VR for Xbox One? Sadly, the Xbox One console platform across both the X and S does not support any sort of VR. It appears as somewhat unusual, considering how Microsoft dedicates an entire division devoted to designing Mixed Reality experiences. However, the focus on here is more geared towards enterprise and businesses. For gaming, Microsoft has stated many times that they don’t think it is a good experience for use in the living room. That its adoption requires that the technology improves further.
The Partner Director of Program Management, Jason Ronald, expressed in an interview at E3 2019 that Microsoft is still of the opinion that PC is the best place for VR to improve and evolve. Ultimately the notion depicts Microsoft’s general philosophy of meeting customers where they are today. Which explains why they are putting lots of resources into Xbox-to-mobile game streaming service Project xCloud. In previous interviews, Xbox head Phil Spencer has stated that he’d love to see the technology go fully wireless before trying to integrate it into the living room.
Though there isn’t VR for Xbox One, it is relatively affordable to have satisfactory VR experience in your living room with Sony’s PlayStation VR platform. This is one of the most popular options available now. Microsoft’s own Windows Mixed Reality platform is compatible with SteamVR. Delivering tons of games, along with inside-out tracking that does not require external cameras or sensors. You, of course, need a burly computer to run it though. With minimum specs for most decent games requiring a dedicated GPU.
Xbox Series X – An Opportunity?
When Microsoft announced Xbox Series X, one of the questions in the minds of gamers was whether the high-end console would support VR. Microsoft had chosen to ride out the early VR craze when Sony came on with PlayStation VR. In part since the weaker hardware of the Xbox One and One S were incapable of delivering a satisfactory experience. However, with the Xbox Series X releasing soon, there appears to be a chance to change this — and Phil Spencer told gamers clearly that the console would support VR in 2016 — then restated this in 2017 at E3.
But What? Xbox Series X Won’t Have VR At Launch.
We thought it was unlikely. The head of the Xbox unit has now confirmed that the Xbox Series X will not support VR at launch.
In an interview, Spencer disclosed that Microsoft is waiting until VR becomes a “no brainer”, but the company does not, at this time see, the feature as “so important” on its upcoming console.
Spencer also pointed out that, while VR may be performing well on Windows, it would be a much more complicated thing to port VR support to a console – and the company’s focus isn’t that right now.
While VR looks like a pointless endeavor for Microsoft right now, Spencer is hopeful that demand for VR will rise. It is at that time we may see Xbox come aboard.
Xbox and VR
Spencer’s comments were only a few months after the Xbox head caused controversy by asserting that “nobody is selling several millions” of VR headsets and “nobody’s asking for VR.”
And as for his previous comments on VR for Xbox? He explained that they were for clarity and not an insult to the VR community.
So, while we expect Sony to release PSVR 2 along with the PlayStation 5. You shouldn’t expect Xbox Series X to support VR – at least not yet.
When Will Xbox Have VR?
As much as we’d love for VR to be available on all consoles, it makes sense that Xbox doesn’t prioritize it in its next-gen console. Considering its high system requirements and expensive peripheral. It would be difficult to fit VR into the platform-agnostic agenda Microsoft have for Xbox.
The Series X itself may be capable of powering Virtual Reality well, but what about Project xCloud and the Microsoft’s claim that gamers will still be able to play first-party games on the Xbox One once the Series X launches? VR does require more dedication than Xbox expects from its players; hence, Spencer doesn’t quite see the potential.
The future of Virtual Reality isn’t looking too dim though! Sony already affirmed its intention to support PSVR on the PlayStation 5. Oculus Quest is fast becoming a popular standalone console. Just one platform owner ditching it isn’t going to take the huge toll on VR some critics will be eager to view it as.
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