Microsoft has promised many things for its next-generation Xbox Scarlett console, but VR isn’t one of them. Though its hardware seems more than capable, it’s a market the company doesn’t see as quite mature enough.
In a previous interview in 2016, Xbox head Phil Spencer described VR as feeling like “demos and experiments”. A lot has changed since then, but it seems the executive’s skepticism about VR has remained intact.
In an interview with Stevivor, Spencer said he regrets that he “doesn’t love” his previous answer because it could come across as demeaning to those who work on VR. However, he maintains that Xbox customers don’t associate it with the tech.
“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,” he 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.”
However, he also admitted that it’s partly down to money. Currently, VR headsets aren’t being shifted in the 10+ millions. “I think we might get there, but yeah, that’s not where our focus is,” said Spencer.
Meanwhile, head of PlayStation Shuhei Yoshida appeared to respond to the comments. Shortly after Spencer’s statements, he noted on Twitter that Sony often works hard to make things even if no customers are asking for them.
（´-`）.｡oO（we oftentimes work hard to make things that no customers are asking for them）
— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) November 26, 2019
That’s not a philosophy Microsoft is immune to. It often takes risks with its Surface line, with the dual-screen Neo and Duo coming next year. For gaming, though, it seems content to focus on the areas it thinks it can deliver – game streaming, console hardware, and subscription services.