Back at E3 2016, Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced on stage that the Xbox One X (then ‘Project Scorpio’) would become the industry’s next VR-compatible console, positioning the platform to compete with Sony’s PSVR with what Spencer called “high fidelity VR.” Now, it appears, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer for gaming Mike Nichols has put a final nail in the Xbox One VR coffin in a recent GamesIndustry.biz interview, saying the company doesn’t have “any plans specific to Xbox One consoles.”

The company was initially bullish about Xbox One VR integration back in 2016, which included the announcement that Bethesda would eventually bring Fallout 4 VR (2018) to the platform—a game that still hasn’t made it to PSVR. Shortly after, Microsoft backpedaled however, indicating that one major roadblock to VR on Xbox was the ability to offer a fully wireless experience. Trouble in paradise? We weren’t so sure.

Image courtesy Microsoft

After two years of near silence on the team’s promised integration of VR into the Xbox ecosystem, Spencer offered a bold glimpse of the team’s future tech on stage at E3 2018, including gaming AI and new consoles (plural), but critically left out VR as area of future investment. The talk of new consoles comes less than one year since the Xbox One X hardware refresh was released in November 2017. Only one month prior, the company released a bevy of Windows VR headsets from various PC hardware vendors, and a big update to Windows 10 which bakes VR directly into the operating system.

Until now, Microsoft has almost entirely silent about their promise, which Spencer said in 2016 would “lead the industry into a future in which true 4K gaming and high-fidelity VR are the standard, not an exception.” Now that appears to have changed completely.

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“We don’t have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality,” Nichols told Games Industry. “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.”

While it’s clear the company as a whole is investing in both virtual reality and augmented reality, any hope for Windows “Mixed Reality” VR compatibility is entirely gone, as the Xbox team dials in on it next TV-centric console(s), which according to Nichols’ statement, continues to be the company’s primary focus for its consoles.

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  • MosBen

    What a damn bummer. I got a good deal on an Xbox One X about a month ago, and picked it up hoping that there’d be some kind of E3 announcement. Granted, I’ll sell my original Xbox One, which will bring the cost down further, and when I play on consoles it’s generally on Xbox, so I don’t regret the purchase. Still, I was really expecting that they’d make some kind of move into VR.

    It sounds to me like they’re happy to wait for the second generation of HMDs, which will probably be hitting as they’re ramping up for their next new, more powerful, console. In the meantime, they’re happy to let other companies do the hard work of moving the tech forward. It’s understandable, but a shame.

    • GordoSan

      Understandable, but a shame… Indeed!

    • Darshan

      “once bitten twice shy” We already knew what happed to Kinnect. Its not MS fault if they want to play safe. Its just that it was MS only which was doing kinnect in VR Sony already pretty much established what VR is capable of in console space. so for MS its indeed not supporting their own Windows VR headsets on their flagship console *by hardware more powerful than PS4 PRO* is nothing but LAME.

      • brandon9271

        I think MS decided against it because PSVR isn’tt selling all that well. Why launch a VR product for Xbox when the VR market is a fragmented niche as it is?

        • MosBen

          Yeah, that’s my feeling as well. The tech is compelling, but the next generation will be a pretty significant upgrade, and Sony’s entry into VR is doing less than they’d hoped (though I wouldn’t say that it’s doing really badly). This late in the console generation it probably makes a certain amount of sense to just wait a few more years.

    • MarquisDeSang

      I know it is frustrating, but the reality is that they lost a lot of money with Kinect, PSVR is not selling, Mixed Reality is not selling, PCVR is not selling (less than 0.1% of market in 3 years). And also the current computers and console are not powerful enough for AAA modern games. I love my new Xbox one X, it is cheap, less frustrating than my 2000$ pc and the games are cheap with the game pass.

      • PC Gamer

        .
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        PC is the master race.
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        • beestee

          PC is great for gaming if you feel that troubleshooting and updating for the optimal gameplay experience is enjoyable…you certainly don’t get to do that nearly as often on console.

          • Michael Slesinski

            most of us know how to keep our drivers up to date so there IS no “troubleshooting” or “updating” for the optimal gameplay experience (which you NEVER get on consoles i may add). my xb1 takes WAY longer to update (when it updates) than my pc does. shit, i can still USE my pc when its updating, cant do that with shit-ass consoles.

          • MarquisDeSang

            Buy you are playing on a 30″ monitor and your games can’t HDR. So your PC is just specs numbers on paper with nothing to show.

          • Michael Slesinski

            you have no idea what display i use.. and whats more you CAN have HDR on pc. meanwhile your consoles dont use solid state drives, REAL videocards, or liquid cooling. you can pretend theres ANY argument for consoles aside from exclusives, but in all seriousness you sound like an idiot pretending consoles have ANY edge graphically.

          • PC Gamer

            Again, well said dude.

          • PC Gamer

            .
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            You are trolling.
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            Simply, PC gaming is superset of console gaming.
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            Yes we have also TVs, yes we have also controllers (do i need to say Xbox controllers are officially supported), and many more.
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            In every aspect, PC gaming is superset of console gaming.
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          • JJ

            yeah he tries to troll but fails its funny

          • PC Gamer

            Well said dude.

          • beestee

            It is ignorant to state that PC gaming is as problem free as console gaming. I have and use both. Destiny 2 for PC recently required anyone using AMD graphics to revert drivers or deal with extreme loading times. If you think you are automatically getting optimal graphics settings by leaving them at default then you are missing out on a lot of the advantage that comes from gaming on PC.

            System updates do not happen often on console, and those are the only updates that MIGHT keep you from doing anything else on the console ONLY if you don’t have it set up to update while not in use. You can set up either platform for failure here, and in your case if you truly are experiencing what you claim on console, I question your ability to troubleshoot and update a PC.

            I use two SSDs on my XB1X, and I have one installed in my PS4 pro. The drives attached to my XB are limited to the bandwidth of USB 3.0, but it is a significant improvement for load times on many titles over the built-in plate drive.

            Why are you even using an XB1 if you believe what you are saying? You are aware of Play Anywhere and Game Pass?

          • Michael Slesinski

            since you used the word ignorance lets focus on it..

            you use BOTH?! VERY impressive (to an ignoramus maybe)!

            you play destiny on pc (ignorance!) and use an amd graphic card (the height of ignorance), even though the reason so many people use nvidia cards has nothing to do with hardware and everything to do with amd/ati having had SHIT driver support for close to 2 decades now. most modern games DO just default to the highest setting for your hardware (are you ignorant of this fact?), and i vary rarely want to spend an hour adjusting colors or injecting things into games.

            having your consoles set to auto update wastes ALOT of electricity (most adults are aware of this, here now you can be too: https://www.howtogeek.com/254402/how-much-does-the-xbox-ones-energy-saving-mode-really-save/ ), but i could easily leave my pc on constantly too i just dont need to. my pc can do a full power cycle in under 12 sec. go on and show the world your xbox doing that (considering they dont even USE m.2 this is an exercise in ignorance), NO standby doesnt count. since the OS is NOT stored on external drives its pretty much irrelevant, you do know we have usb 3.1 on pc now (right?) which is TWICE as fast as usb 3.0.. not that most of us NEED usb ANYTHING for our solid state drives (you seem to think usb 3 is as good as sata 3.. which is just ignorant).

            you are aware of the fact that 97% of the games on gamepass DONT work on pc.. riiiight? as for WHY.. you know the xb1 came out before play anywhere (or are you as ignorant about this as you are about everything else?), so for example sunset overdrive HAS to be played on an xbox. it also has the benefit of letting me constantly shit on xbox owners that are SO delusional they think their TOY compares to a weapon. we are already running HIGHER resolutions than 4k on pc, yet these losers insist that their games look “awesome” on xb1x. they wouldnt know “awesome” if it bent them over and butt balled them!

        • Wayne Hinkel

          There are less HDR games on PC because there are fewer PC monitors that support it, as opposed to the rapidly growing number of living room TVs used by consoles.

      • Blaine Miller

        Isn’t that just a matter of driver support on the PC? Honestly, regardless PC is a more powerful and easier to use platform. It can customized however you want. Whats wrong with your brain?

        • Laurence Nairne

          More powerful? Sure. Easier to use? Not at all. You’re speaking as someone who knows how to use it for more than the simple browsing and document generation most people use a PC for.

          Between a games console, which is designed specifically for plug-and-play, and a PC that is designed to do many things of which gaming is only one of them, and there’s really no contest in terms of ease of use.

          • Michael Slesinski

            oh bullshit, they change the UI completely every 6 fucking months. so you have to figure out how to do everything all over again. windows has been windows for a VERY long time.

          • Laurence Nairne

            Sure, Xbox1 might change the UI every 6 months. PS4 does not. That’s by-the-by though, as consoles are by design plug-and play. PCs are not and are never going to be easier than a console.

            Don’t misunderstand, I’m a fan of both. I just think it’s a ridiculous argument that PC is easier than a console to game on when you consider all potential users – specifically those who are not power PC users to begin with.

          • care package

            The don’t change the UI completely every 6 months. Xbox has NEVER changed the UI completely, unless the new definition of completely is more like significantly. They just had a major update, but have only added since then.

          • Laurence Nairne

            Disclaimer: I do not own an XB1 and therefore was simply taking Michael Slesinski’s word for it.

            The point I was trying to make is that even were that true, consoles are still simpler by design to pick up and play when going from completely novice with both types of platform for gaming.

          • PC Gamer

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            PC is more powerful and easier to use than any console.
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          • Laurence Nairne

            Thanks for clearing that up with your irrefutably well reasoned arguments.

          • PC Gamer

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            Just a reflection of your comment.
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            There is no need to waste energy to reply a comment like yours.
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          • Laurence Nairne

            Well colour me insulted. You may return to your dwelling beneath the bridge in triumph.

          • care package

            lol, ya easier than power on and power off via the controller. No OS to boot into…..ya, way easier than console.

            Here is the big part PC fanatics keep ignoring:

            Consoles are designed for the living room/television. Period

            PCs are designed for the desk/monitors. Period

            I’d wager most consumers want to game in comfort on the big TV rather than sitting at their desk to play video games, and go after the device that caters to the living room. Those same consumers want to use their PC as a PC which is impractical in the living room. If someone wants to treat their PC like a console, then more power to ’em, but there in the extreme minority.

      • Michael Slesinski

        you sound like you drank too much koolaid.. maybe the x1x is better than YOUR pc, but most of us have rigs that can shit all over it with reckless abandon.

        • PC

          Good answer. :)

  • Darshan

    It really does not matter weather “Shit Box One F” support VR or not. Thanks MS to make VR console of choice easy.. Buy PlayStation or stand clear of console VR. Cant be more easy.

    • brandon9271

      You sound like a fanboy

      • Darshan

        Oh indeed i am fanboy of Quality VR on PS4, PC or Stand Alone HMD.

        Its hypocrisy of MS for not supporting their own PC VR Hmd on xbox which itself are free from external tracking camera requirement and does not need anything but HDMI+USB on XBOX just annoyed me.

        • brandon9271

          If they believed they could do it and make money I’m sure they would. They obviously don’t think it’s viable. I’ll bet their WMR store isn’t doing that well against Steam or Oculus so they assume Xbox VR wouldn’t do well either. I tend to agree with them. Everybody thought VR was the next big thing but consumers haven’t really embraced it.

          • Darshan

            WMR store lacks content it also lacks support from Microsoft on revenue front , may be former because of latter. Please find statistics of WMR content being sold on Steam you will be amazed for sure. About XBOX VR wouldnt do well.. They really need not to build anything, their WMR already in market which do not need anything over HDMI & USB. They made best in class hardware console so its just software wiring required must not be Rocket Science imo.

            Also not agree with “Consumers have not embraced it” you can say enthusiast have embraced and laymen are seating on fence still this enthusiast figure is no where small, by 2018 Approx 5 million VR hmds are sold.. Not a small figure, Surely coming years will change it on positive note after Oculus Santacruz releases.

          • brandon9271

            When i had a Samsung Odyssey I only ever used Revive and SteamVR. I did look on the Microsoft store and there was very little there. Maybe the developers just weren’t interested in another subset of what’s already a niche. Like it or not, I think Steam VR is going to dominate all of VR because they support everybody. Oculus shot themselves in the foot by making exclusives and not natively supporting all VR hardware. I know that MS could easily add support for WMR on the Xbox but once they do they would have to provide content or else Xbox user would be upset to have bought an HMD that they couldn’t buy games for. With the release of the new mobile HMDs, wireless tech, high res displays and other VR tech I think they just want to wait for Gen 2

          • Lucio Lima

            “There’s going to be another generation of consoles, and after that, we’re going to streaming, all of us.” Geral da Ubisoft

          • Laurence Nairne

            You said that twice…

        • care package

          Did you just call PSVR quality VR?

          • Darshan

            How you look at it…its above phone based like Gear VR but surely below PC like HTC Vive. Its not small feat to achieve even what sony offer with kind of hardware they had with PS4

          • care package

            It’s well above phone based VR, but I wouldn’t call PSVR quality VR.

          • Darshan

            Like i said how you look at it…. Its quality sure at console level. Where practically no options available.

        • Michael Slesinski

          you just obliterated any chance of sounding intelligent you ever had by using “psvr” and “quality” in the same sentence.

  • VR4EVER

    I find it very difficult to comprehend their stance on VR. They have the perfect package: a powerful console, couple of VR headsets (with better tracking than the Move controllers) and they could snatch up a huge pile of already existing VR games/experiences, that „only“ need to be made available to their platform with relatively low effort.

    They could widen their audience and nobody gets hurt. From my POV it seems like a no-brainer.

    (But what do I know! Maybe they ran their analytics and found out that the train already left without them…)

    • Michael Slesinski

      eh.. they also sell a couple vr games on the microsoft store already.

  • ds

    If microsoft announces a new console next year with VR to compete with the PS5, they are gonna have the XBOX X turn into a paperweight without VR and piss off a shitload of consumers. I don’t know if you guys have noticed but selling consoles with or without games is as much of a business as selling games.

  • Ted Joseph

    They should have at the very least supported their MR headsets. Seriously, how hard would it be to allow it to plug into USB and HDMI? This is a dumb decision. Why? Because PS5 will take ALL of the VR console market, and the console gamers. XBOX will be left with a very small segment…

    • care package

      You’d still need a hub like the PSVR uses. It’s not as easy as just plugging into HDMI and USB. No one wants to connect and disconnect every time.

      • Michael Slesinski

        uh.. you dont NEED a hub. the main problem is MMR headsets require usb 3.0 AND 2.0 (for bluetooth) in addition to another hdmi port.

        • care package

          You don’t NEED a hub, yet MS would never officially support VR without one. No one wants to unplug their TV to plug in VR, or vise versa every time. Xbox2 will have that extra HDMI out no doubt.

          • JJ

            exactly, michael doesn’t know his stuff

  • sfmike

    Corporations are very disappointed buy the lack of big money being made in VR. Not a good sign. If things don’t change they may just dump VR like they did 3DTV.

    • care package

      VR is here to stay no matter what. Not even comparable to 3D.

      • sfmike

        It is 3D and you have to wear something on your head to experience it. This turns off a majority of consumers, especially if they haven’t tried it.

        • care package

          It’s VR, not 3D and quit talking out your ass like you know what turns off a majority of consumers. 3D didn’t offer a reward greater than the cost, which was a dimmed image and having to wear glasses.

          • Laurence Nairne

            Let’s keep it clean kids, no need for insults, it diminishes your argument.

            That being said, I agree that VR and 3D TV are not equivalent technologies. On the other hand, I’d say VR is more fragmented than 3DTV in terms of hardware requirements and the quality of experience you’ll receive – to agnostics, this causes the problem that a consumer doesn’t know the nuances between what sort of experiences can be had with each offering.

            Irrespective of the true value of VR against it’s price point, you have to look at it from an outsider’s perspective and see that that value doesn’t exist until you’ve experienced it (unless you’re a new tech enthusiast in which case you don’t count as you’re likely already invested). So it’s still upwards of £200 to buy into VR in a meaningful way on a hope that it’ll meet your expectations.

            I don’t believe it will flop as the tech is too useful and important, plus it is maturing at an exponential rate. But I do think that commercial VR will be a much slower burner than VCs hoped.

          • MosBen

            I think that your last paragraph is where you really hit the difference between 3D and VR. The first generation of current consumer VR was driven by Palmer Lucky’s hacked together prototype and the excitement that it generated, both online and with investors. 3D tech was driven by the success of Avatar. Early commercial products in both areas were cool, but expensive and ungainly to use. 3D tech needed to get to a place where multiple people could watch 3D content in the same room and get a good experience from a wide range of angles, all without wearing glasses.

            That never happened, and really improvements over a couple generations of TV weren’t really that big. VR, on the other hand, seems like big improvements are being made behind the scenes, with just about every drawback of the current generation seeing pretty significant improvements.

          • Michael Slesinski

            palmer lucky had fuck all to do with “first generation vr”. we had vr back in the 90s for fucks sake!

          • MosBen

            Please learn to do more careful reading before typing out responses. The internet is mostly text-based, so that is a skill that will serve you well. I said, “the first generation of current consumer VR”, not the “first generation vr”. Regardless of where you put the start of VR tech in general, there was a lull in interest in VR, as well as in development of consumer products for a significant period of time. Lucky, douche though he seems to be, reignited interest in VR as well as attracting a lot of industry interest and money to the space. That led to the release of consumer HMDs like the Rift and Vive, and I think that it’s safe to say that we are still in the first generation of this new wave of VR interest/devices.

          • Laurence Nairne

            It’s ok, I think Michael is a very angry man. I think the spam from Marques up top bristled his breeches or something.

    • ArSh

      Strange, I still regularly buy 3D blurays and watch 3D films at the cinema. Sure, there are no TV manufacturers producing 3D panels any longer, but the format is not dead. I’d take 3D over 4K (with its oversaturated HDR) any day of the week.

      • MosBen

        I love 3D movies, but don’t really have any way to watch them. Given the TV manufacturers aren’t making them, is there a good option?

        • R FC

          It’s a strange scenario, no doubt.

          I just purchased a new television, snagged an LG 55″ 4K Ultra HD on sale, it’s jaw dropping to watch HD content!

          Purchased from a large electrical retailer, didn’t see a single 3D tv on offer from perhaps 40 units on display. I have a Sony Blu-ray player which is 3D capable but no way of displaying 3D content (have a couple of boxed Blu-ray with 3D version in addition to 2D movie).

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Shame they don’t at least support the current crop of MR headsets.. But then again, developers can already use them on the Xbox One (X) if they really wanted to.

    • Darshan

      No they can not unless hardware level WMR support added to OS of XBOX One X

  • Lucidfeuer

    Beyond degenerate…from a rational business and marketing stand-point. But since corporation today are led by irrational short-term speculative finances pretty much like banks, it makes sense for them not to invest, in order not to spend, in order to give those bonus growth stocks to major shareholders, even if that means huge mid-long term opportunity losses.

    People have to understand how corporations (wether it’s Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony etc…) are irrationally run today and why their stalling growth, lack of innovation and diversification or straight-up abandons are as they are…

  • ummm…

    hmmm, a bit embarassing for such a capable? company. they’d do just as well if they hire me as they spokesperson.

    • Michael Slesinski

      im pretty sure they came to the realization that this generation was already lost.

      • ummm…

        no, with their brand awareness, talent pool, resources and the fact that some of the other big hardware and software players are yet to make an offering, they’d be sorely wrong in thinking so. however, if you mean like console generation then maybe i dunno. i was a vive user since day 1 so none of this matters to me if the ecosystem continues to evolve at whatever pace.

        • Michael Slesinski

          yea, the console generation.. what did you think i meant the hmds? that shits going to be evolving for a looong time to come. microsoft knows that, i think everyone does. there is not a chance in hell they are going to turn the xbox one around though. they would have to offer not only vr, but full on porn to save the xbox at this point. i mean even nintendough is kicking their teeth in at this point.

      • Yoshi Kato

        Totally agree. The PS4 and Nintendo Switch are dominating the market now. It would make more sense for them to start planning for the next gen when it comes to VR implementation. Hopefully they make better marketing decisions next time around.

  • Lucio Lima

    “There’s going to be another generation of consoles, and after that, we’re going to streaming, all of us.” Geral da Ubisoft

  • Luke

    for next gen I wish to buy an open platform HMD compatible with ps5, pc, nintendo and xbox. tv does it, why should not hmd?

    I will never have 2 HMDs of the same generation in my home. I hope developers and hardware sellers will understand that there are many other people that have this philosophy other than me. it’s pure consumerism mentality to do not allow people to plug the HMD into the favorite device.

    • JJ

      well when your profits will be halved by doing more work to make things compatible, what longevity does that provide your company? I hate it too but when you have monetary facts in your face while at the same time your companies future relies on those numbers, you’re not gona make things harder for your companies success. This isnt great but this is basic business room logic.

      aside from that, just get a pc headset that is capable with all pc’s and exchangeable with other HMD’s like you want.

      • Luke

        my logic as consumer is: I will not buy 2. I don’t know company logic. do you have company? if you make a multi platform hmd I may be your customer.

  • oompah

    Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooser

  • Sandy Wich

    Well since PSVR2 is happening, if Microsoft doesn’t do it, at least we’ll get it on the PS5, right?

    By then we’ll finally have console hardware capable of pushing some nice graphics and display settings on a vr device… Even if it is seated only :/

  • Trenix

    Not surprised, Microsoft never did well with consoles. They should stick with PCs.