Xbox Virtual Reality Is Out of Scope
Xbox Virtual Reality not in Microsofts Current Development Plans
I didn’t write about this previously, because to be honest I didn’t think much of it when Xbox One X was announced to include some VR capability – and I am pretty sure that is the vibe Phil Spencer and his team got from their core audience as well. I assumed Xbox would not be a Virtual Reality platform.
Xbox Virtual Reality Would Compete with Microsoft HoloLens
It wouldn’t make sense for Xbox to compete with Hololens, and besides, out of my friends’ list on Xbox Live, I rarely see anyone putting in more than a few hours to games.
Watching Shows Seems to be the most used Feature on Xbox
Watching Hulu, Netflix and TV seem to be the most prominent features and applications used from personal observation. The crowd of friends I have on Xbox is late 20’s to mid 30’s, so it is possible my observations are not consistent with the overall game-to-watching-shows ratio.
Mike Nichols Does Not Have any Plans Specific to Xbox Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality
The chief marketing officer at Xbox, Mike Nichols, spoke with GamesIndustry.biz briefly, and they were able to gather that he is unaware of any significant plans to focus on VR or MR within the platform, saying
“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.”
Based on Steam’s results, here are the numbers for Virtual Reality users:
After E3, you can see the numbers spiked a bit, but that is to be expected with the amount of hype drawn from it – the number of users, however, is disappointing, to say the least.
Here are the numbers of XBox Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality users from Statista:
As suspected, phones are way ahead. It’s cheaper, and people already own the phones. They don’t have to drop an extra $600+ on a new setup, headphones and the whole rest of it. Simply pop the device into the cradle, and you are good to go.
Phones are more prominent in Virtual Reality than Computers are
It’s tough to see how Mike Nichols is implying that PC is the way to go with VR, especially with these numbers. More people buy smartphones or tablets, and they are VR capable. I think this shows they are going back to their roots, driving less focus on the smartphone market as a whole, and focusing on perfecting Hololens to try and win back some of that market being taken by smartphones.
Microsoft is Right to Focus on PC Virtual Reality Instead of XBox Virtual Reality
Rightly so, they don’t think the console is the way to do it. It’ll be cheaper for Microsoft to simply focus on the Windows platform to achieve this goal.
Microsoft Might Miss a Huge Opportunity in the Virtual Reality Market
On the other hand, they could capitalize on the market even more by allowing the Xbox to simply run the Windows operating system via dual boot options, and allow cross-play with a warning letting Xbox fans know the PC/Keyboard/Mouse is vastly superior for controlling games over a 60fps console with limited buttons.