Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality not on Microsoft's radar for the Xbox One consoles anytime soon
Microsoft is apparently not too keen on pushing virtual reality/mixed reality (VR/MR) on the Xbox One consoles as of now. This was revealed by Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer for Gaming, Mike Nichols, in an interview to GamesIndustry.biz. Nichols said,
We don't have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality. 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."
Nichols' statement appears in stark contrast to what Xbox chief Phil Spencer said in 2016. Spencer said back then that 'Project Scorpio' aka Xbox One X will support 'high-fidelity VR' but that never saw the light of the day. However, Microsoft was pushing their Windows Mixed Reality agenda pretty enthusiastically last year during the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
Perhaps, Nichols could be right as well. Right now, there are not many indicators that PlayStation VR is actually selling great and is garnering mainstream adoption as much as Sony would have liked although, it did seem to have had some initial momentum. While the Xbox One X hardware is definitely capable of VR, Microsoft would want to get a pulse of the market on the PC before bringing it to Xbox so as to avoid a repetition of the whole Kinect saga.
Whether the next Xbox will feature VR/MR support is anybody's guess but given the Windows 10 underpinnings and improved hardware of the next gen consoles, the scales could eventually tilt in favor of quality VR/MR gaming in the living room provided there is enough consumer and developer acceptance.