Amid mounting pressure from Sony with the recent launch of its PSVR 2 headset for PlayStation 5, Microsoft again affirmed that it’s still waiting for the technology to mature before offering any sort of dedicated VR software or hardware for Xbox.

Xbox’s lack of VR strategy has been a long ongoing story, reaching back to when the company first announced at E3 2016 that its Xbox One X console would “lead the industry into a future in which true 4K gaming and high-fidelity VR are the standard, not an exception.”

As a show of big brand cohesion (pre-Bethesda acquisition), the company announced Fallout 4 VR was supposed to come to the system, however a month later Xbox leadership began waffling about VR support on Xbox One X, which effectively led to the company putting an indefinite kibosh on all things console VR.

And that’s not changed, even in the face of PSVR 2 outperforming the original PSVR in sales in the first six weeks, taking a strong early lead over Sony’s first-gen PlayStation headset introduced in 2016.

This Open World VR Game is Still Ahead of Its Time – Inside XR Design

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter late last week, Xbox Game Studio head Matt Booty says VR just isn’t there yet for Xbox.

“I think for us, it’s just a bit of wait until there’s an audience there. We’re very fortunate that we have got these big IPs that have turned into ongoing franchises with big communities,” Booty said. “We have 10 games that have achieved over 10 million players life-to-date, which is a pretty big accomplishment, but that’s the kind of scale that we need to see success for the game and it’s just, it’s not quite there yet with AR, VR.”

In the end, it may actually come down to Xbox’s lagging install base relative to PlayStation. Xbox has reportedly sold over 18 million Xbox Series X/S consoles since launch in November 2020. Sony says it’s sold over 38 million PlayStation 5 consoles since launch, which notably released only two days after Xbox Series X.

Meanwhile, the standalone headset market is moving along at a clip that would suggest the audience is already there, or may be there soon. Meta says it’s sold over 20 million Quest headsets to date as it prepares to launch its $500 follow-up, Quest 3. Only a few days after Quest 3’s June 1st unveiling, Apple announced its $3,500 Vision Pro headset, which if anything, will spur others to take XR more seriously.

Granted, PSVR 2 installs only account for a fraction of that 38 million figure, but if Xbox is hoping to wait for VR games to reach console-level unit sales, it may be handing over yet more revenue to its direct competitor for a while longer.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • gothicvillas

    Xbox are not tinkerers to experiment with technology. They only are interested in main stream masses. Well, its one of the reasons i refuse to have xbox in my home. They are plain boring.
    They had Kinect which sparked my interest but i guess it was a system glitch.

    • ViRGiN

      They tinkered with VR with their WMR, and kinda Hololens.
      But they failed miserably, just like Valve. And they both focus on mainstream masses. Steam Fest doesn’t even have a VR section anymore.

      • Guest

        Yeah I don’t know what gothicvillas means, they were ahead of the curve with the Hololens. They aren’t shy to experiment and innovate – just look at Microsoft Research. But for whatever reason, they fail to get the market timing, or convince consumers of the value for the big shots they take.

    • kool

      They acquired Bethesda which was on of the few aaavr devs and slowed the momentum. No more fallout vr doom vfr Skyrim vr Yaay!

  • Halo and Gears vr would have been game changers. Way to drop the ball Microsoft.

  • PerpetuallySkeptical

    An affirmation no one needed.

  • Kyokushin

    The best part is they already have headset Microsoft Mixed Reality – HP Reverb G2. They even have native support written (included to Win10 and Win11).
    They only need to say ‘go’ and let pepole do the VR games.

  • Blinkin73

    I don’t think Microsoft needs to worry about VR or AR too much as others have produced HMD’s already and Microsoft seems to be leaning more into PC territory than it’s console lately. What they SHOULD do, as leaning into PC is their thing, is maybe have one of it’s many studios work on some VR titles. Then they could at least come in at the software level to take advantage of the tech from that perspective. If they worked hard enough at it, maybe it could gain them a reputation for making great VR games in the PC space.

  • My Thoughts

    There is dumb and then there is Microsoft Dumb. They have all the software and equipment capable of doing this. They just don’t want to do it. Wow. You are just going to be left behind.