Xbox head Phil Spencer has been a very vocal man of late, and this week the Washington-based executive has elaborated on the relationship between Microsoft and virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift. Specifically, Spencer has made it clear that while the company is excited about the prospects behind VR games on consoles, Microsoft isn’t focused on bringing virtual reality to Xbox One gamers just yet.
Spencer promised that 2016 would be a fun year for Xbox One gamers, but it looks like this year will come and go without the aid of any type of virtual reality device for the console. Those hoping for some kind of Oculus, Vive or Microsoft-made tie-in will have to stew on those thoughts for the near future, although Spencer didn’t exactly rule out that the company wouldn’t develop VR headset beyond 2016, or that it was something they hadn’t already considered.
Here’s the comments from the man himself, who makes a point of acknowledging that Microsoft are already putting in some good work for VR via Windows 10:
We’re not really focused right now on adding a VR device to Xbox One. We’re really more focused on the open ecosystem of Windows. We see Oculus and HTC and Valve and other people doing great work on Windows and we’re supportive of that. We want all of these devices to run incredibly well. We’re watching how VR evolves. We’re participating – we have Minecraft and other things that we’re working on in the VR space and with HoloLens as well. Specifically on Xbox One, we’re not really focused on bringing a device to that platform.
Phil’s response was certainly more lengthy than the one Oculus founder Palmer Luckey gave when asked with the same question. He laughed, waved his arms, and gave a questioning “Maybe?”.
That maybe seems to definitely be put on hold for the time being according to Spencer’s own answer, but stating that ‘we’re not really focused right now’ doesn’t exactly close the door to possibilities, either. VR titles can make games become more immersive than ever before, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft consider a stronger console-based focus in the future.
Spencer also applauded Sony on their work virtual reality, which wasn’t the first bit of pro-Sony compliments the Xbox head has put forth lately:
I applaud Sony for what they’re doing. I’m curious to see how it does when it comes out and how VR in the living room connected to my console and my TV works. And that’s not a shot, I’m really curious to see how that works.
Spencer has been quite vocal about Xbox plans in the last few months, and has even stirred the proverbial hornet’s nest by stating that cross-purchasable items will become a platform feature, meaning those who purchase Xbox One titles can also play them from a Windows 10 PC. Whilst this is a great future for gamers, it means less exclusivity power for the Xbox One, and many fans speculated that it could hurt console sales in the long run if gamers opt to simply purchase PCs.
In any event, it looks like buying a PC – or a PlayStation, for that matter – will be the only way for gamers to enjoy high-end virtual reality gaming for the time being.