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Xbox boss on virtual reality: “Nobody is asking for VR”

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has commented on the current state of virtual reality in the gaming medium, and it’s seemingly not something his audience is very interested in. 

Speaking with Stevivor at X019, Spencer expanded upon comments he made regarding virtual reality on Xbox platforms, and how he said it would only make an appearance when it didn’t feel like “demos and experiments.” 

“I don’t love my quote there because I’m not trying to demean the work that people are doing in VR,” Spencer said, clearly not trying to devalue a medium which continues to evolve and grow. However, it’s not something he associates with the Xbox brand. 

“I have some issues with VR — it’s isolating and I think of games as a communal, kind of together experience. We’re responding to what our customers are asking for and… nobody’s asking for VR,” Spencer said. “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.”

Project Scarlett, Microsoft’s next-generation console, is set to launch in the latter months of 2020 alongside Halo Infinite. From what we know, it won’t incorporate virtual reality in any way, shape or form.

PS5 on the other hand, is confirmed to support existing PlayStation VR headsets out of the box, and patents also hint towards a future iteration being in the works. Nothing formal has been announced, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Sony hopes to release a successor to its popular peripheral.

Both consoles will be capable of ray-tracing, full backwards compatibility with previous consoles and 8k resolutions, although we imagine that final point is more of an ambitious hallmark than the inevitable industry standard – since displays with such resolutions are far from commonplace.

Virtual reality might not be selling millions of units, but it’s hard to deny the medium isn’t advancing with Oculus Quest proving that wireless play is not only possible, but enhances the overall experience massively. Valve also recently announced Half-Life: Alyx as its flagship VR title.

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