Though the company initially proclaimed that the Xbox One X (formerly known as ‘Project Scorpio’) would feature VR support, at E3 this week Microsoft is distancing itself from that commitment. An official statement provided to Road to VR suggests that the Xbox One X won’t see any form of VR support as a launch feature, and perhaps for some time to come.
Anyone tuned into the Xbox E3 press conference this afternoon hoping to learn more about the company’s plans for VR on the console will surely have been disappointed. There wasn’t a single mention of the feature on stage, despite the company formerly announcing that Xbox One X would support VR headsets when the console was announced last year (then called Project Scorpio). And this wasn’t just a vague promise, as Microsoft even had Bethesda announce that Fallout 4 VR would be coming to Xbox One X at that initial introduction last year.
Now however it seems that Microsoft is waning in their support of VR on Xbox One X, or at least de-emphasizing it for the time being. When we asked if the company is still committed to bringing VR to Xbox One X, a spokesperson provided the following statement to Road to VR (note that Microsoft uses the term “Mixed Reality” as an umbrella term for VR and AR):
“Microsoft is committed to delivering great mixed reality gaming experiences. We believe that right now a Windows PC is the best platform for mixed reality as its open ecosystem and enormous installed base offer the best opportunity for developers, and Windows offers the most choices for consumers. Therefore, our primary focus is making our Windows Mixed Reality experiences a success. We have games from Microsoft Studios in development for Windows Mixed Reality, and several game developers are working closely with us to bring their titles to Windows Mixed Reality. We’ll have more to share on specific games and content experiences coming to Windows Mixed Reality later this summer, after E3. Because of the opportunity with Windows Mixed Reality, and because we believe the user experience will be best on PC right now, that is where our focus is. We have nothing to share about MR for console at this time.”
And while there’s still a few months until the Xbox One X launch in November—time the company could use to straighten out its commitment to VR on the console—our hopes are not high. Speaking with another Xbox spokesperson at E3 today, Road to VR was additionally told that “PC is where [Microsoft is] focusing on [VR] this year,” (emphasis ours). That’s a big hint that we’re unlikely to see Microsoft hone in on VR support as an Xbox One X feature for the November launch, nor at least until 2018.
Should we be surprised? Well, maybe not. Though Microsoft highlighted VR support when it announced the console last year, they left a lot of the details to the imagination; it’s never been clear if headsets like the Rift and Vive would be supported, or if Microsoft planned only to support their own VR headsets. And it wasn’t after that initial announcement that Xbox head Phil Spencer sent some mixed messages about VR on Xbox One X.
All-in-all, it seems the company still plans to bring VR to Xbox One X, but it’s not anywhere near ready to talk about a timeline.