With Sony’s PlayStation VR having launched almost a year ago, questions are being asked about Microsoft’s own console virtual reality solution – but it seems the firm isn’t ready to talk about it just yet.
At a recent Xbox One X preview event, we asked Microsoft’s Xbox Marketing Manager, Albert Penello, about the status of virtual reality on the upcoming console.
“We’ll talk about VR when that happens,” Pinello said, “For us, we’re focussed this year on the X launch. There’s already so much we’re asking developers to do.
“We’ve said that we’re building for VR. Obviously Microsoft as a company is super invested in VR. For Xbox this year, it’s just not what we’re talking about. There’s always new things to talk about in the future.”
It’s reassuring to hear that virtual reality on an Xbox console is a question of when, not an if, but we wanted to know what we were talking about in terms of time frame. Was it going to be a next generation console or is that in the Xbox One X’s future?
A smile spread across Penello’s face, the air between us became a little thicker.
“That’s a great question.”
Where’s our headset?
Virtual reality was a key part of the Xbox One X’s (then called Project Scorpio) original announcement back at E3 2016. However, there was no VR at E3, nor at Gamescom, and now with the Xbox One X just a couple of months away, there’s still no sign of it.
However, this year Microsoft did confirm that its upcoming Windows 10 headsets will be compatible with the Xbox One platform in 2018.
VR is in an interesting place at the moment, with new VR and AR headsets popping up on a seemingly daily basis, and top-of-the-range headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift getting massive reductions in price.
Unsurprisingly given its price advantage is the fact that Sony seems to be winning in terms of number of units sold. It recently announced that it had sold over one million units of its PSVR headset, significantly more than estimated amounts for the higher-end headsets.
Without recent official numbers from HTC or Oculus it’s difficult to know whether this is still the case given their recent price drops, but it’s interesting that a VR headset that is a companion to a games console is doing so well.
In light of that, you would imagine (or hope) that Microsoft would be releasing a VR headset to go along with the Xbox One X, but so far no luck.