Virtual Reality holds great promise for the world of gaming, which centers on the ability to escape into new worlds and live through crazy stories from the comfort of your own home. This new technology has the power to place you directly into the world of your chosen game.We find this quite exciting!
Right now, Sony’s PlayStation VR runs the console virtual reality market:
When PS4 began selling their VR set, reportedly at profit from the start, all eyes turned to Microsoft’s Xbox, the PS4’s main competitor (because let’s face the facts, Nintendo does what it wants and won’t adopt VR for a while). Will Microsoft ignore VR altogether? Develop a competing product? If so, what will they make?
With these questions in mind, we decided to pursue the latest news on…
What’s new with Xbox VR?
Why is it so important?
A quick story: we tried VR with the Oculus Go, Facebook‘s mobile headset. The graphics? Excellent. The movement-tracking lag? Nearly nonexistent. Oculus made an excellent mobile product, they’re going great places!
However…the Go itself wasn’t for us.
Why? You can play around with YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc., but the experiences didn’t grab us much more than a normal TV. We wanted something more immersive, where we could walk through a world and interact with the environment, a story. For these reasons, we believe:
VR may not be the future of gaming, but gaming is the future of VR.
And AR is probably just the future-future, but that’s a whole other beast.
So, what’s the news?
At this time, we can say with some assurance there hasn’t been recent news since the summer of 2018.
There it is, no sugar coating.
However…this fact can be interpreted a few ways. Depending on what source you look at, whether the 2017 blog post by Microsoft employee Alex Kipman or the 2018 interview with Microsoft chief marketing officer Mike Nichols, there are two ways to look at this:
- Microsoft will pursue VR, but wait until they have a good partner and the next generation of console technology emerges.
- Microsoft has abandoned VR. They decided that, in Nichols’ words, “…The PC is probably the best platform for more immersive VR and MR.”
Frankly, while the interview with Mike Nichols happened more recently and bears far more weight considering his position, we aren’t going to discount Xbox VR quite yet: many of these statements were made during the first generation of virtual reality, when the technology was still young.
While we don’t expect Xbox to roll out a headset at E3 this year, we wouldn’t be surprised if PS4 hints at an improved VR setup. And there’s the rub:
PS4 VR proves the market for console VR exists.
Soon enough, headsets will be made cheaper, better, and faster. The main complaint – the inability to play without a physical connection – will vanish as wireless VR becomes the norm. (In fact, Facebook’s Oculus Quest will provide a wireless experience at the end of this month.) When wireless VR becomes more popular, we firmly believe that Xbox will reconsider virtual reality. Still…
At this time, expect nothing new from Microsoft VR. Clearly, development plans have been tabled for the time being and Xbox fans are out of luck. If you want a good triple-A virtual reality game like Skyrim, Borderlands 2, or Resident Evil 7, you’ll have to settle for a PlayStation or PC.
In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for E3 2019. While we don’t expect an announcement, questions and updates are practically inevitable.
Thanks for reading! And to our Xbox fans: wishing you luck and patience!