Xbox head Phil Spencer reiterates VR caution
“We’re responding to what our customers are asking for,” head of Xbox Phil Spencer said of the console brand’s decision not to pursue virtual reality (VR) content for now. “Nobody’s asking for VR.”
Are Xbox players not asking for VR because they don’t want it, or because Xbox doesn’t offer it?
Spencer suggested the second factor may be playing a role when he told Stevivor that “the vast majority of our customers know if they want a VR experience, there’s places to go get those. We see the volumes of those on PC and other places.”
The PlayStation 4 console, for example, has its PlayStation VR headset; PC gaming company Valve, which operates the Steam store, is reviving its iconic “Half-Life” franchise as a VR exclusive for March 2020.
Even though the top-tier Xbox One X, currently the world’s most powerful console, seems capable of supporting VR, and 2020’s new Xbox console will most certainly outstrip minimum requirements, Spencer appears hesitant to pursue the medium.
“It’s isolating and I think of games as a communal, kind of together experience,” he said, while softening earlier comments made in 2016 — “I’m not trying to demean the work that people are doing in VR” — together, perhaps a tacit acknowledgment of the Windows Mixed Reality range, which is overseen by Xbox owner Microsoft.
Still, his comments invite further consideration of why virtual reality technology has not yet been more widely adopted. CL/JB
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