When he first revealed “Project Scorpio” – the development name for Xbox One X – Xbox head Phil Spencer said that not only would it be the “world’s most powerful console”, it would also be great for virtual reality. He suggested that it would work with Microsoft’s own Mixed Reality system, something that was seen by the games industry as rivalling Sony’s PlayStation VR.
However, speaking to gameindustry.biz, Xbox’s CMO, Mike Nichols, revealed that VR was no longer in the firm’s short-term plans: “We don’t have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality,” he said.
“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.”
To be fair to his boss, Spencer, virtual reality gaming has not taken off in the interim as quickly as many had suggested. The first announcement of Project Scorpio was during the Xbox media briefing at E3 2016 and Nichols comments come two years later.
In that time, VR gaming has found a solid, hardcore fan base but little more. It is best, therefore, that Xbox focuses on ensuring the Xbox One X and Xbox One S get the best conventional games possible.
After all, there’s always Xbox Two.