Microsoft may not be making its own virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) to compete with the likes of the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, but the company is still heavily involved with the technology. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer proved as much earlier this year when he announced a partnership with Oculus VR to bring Windows Game Streaming to the Oculus Rift. A partnership with Valve has also been announced. As for PlayStation 4 and Project Morpheus? Spencer ‘applauds’ Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE’s) device, but thinks Windows might be a better fit for VR over console.
Spencer said as much in a recent interview with Eurogamer. “I like the fact that the industry’s innovating with VR – and I include Morpheus in that, I applaud Sony for the work they’re doing,” he replied when asked about the technology. “Where we are in the adoption of VR, Windows is just a better platform. You’ve got 100s of VR games in development, it’s an open platform, somebody can download Windows and get their C compiler and start doing work. We’re early enough that getting hundreds of different creative minds thinking about what’s happening – whether it’s on Oculus or Valve’s VR – is really what the industry needs. Linking it to a closed platform this early, and a handful of games that any dedicated platform is going to go fund, I don’t think VR is at that point.”
While Spencer remained positive about Project Morpheus, he suggested that PC was a better fit for VR at this point in time. “I think the openness of Windows is the right way to approach it – which is why we spent time with Oculus and Valve in making sure Windows is a great platform for VR. As I said, I applaud what Sony is doing with Morpheus. For me and where we are as a team, we look at Windows as the best place to incubate. Whether we ever get to the point where you’re sitting in front of your TV and you want to put goggles on, I don’t know. It feels to me that VR’s more of a PC experience, obviously Sony’s taking a different approach, but when you look at what Oculus and Valve are doing it’s a more natural fit for VR at this point.”
So could Xbox One VR native support be possible in the future? “I’ll let consumers choose,” Spencer explained. “If they say that VR plugged into a console is the way they want to adopt VR… I love the fact we’re working with the companies of VR, and our work on HoloLens is an extension of that, there’s no ‘VR is a bad thing’. We’re just choosing to focus our efforts in the PC space. But if people want to adopt VR on a console platform, we wouldn’t have any problem to keep that as an option.”
VRFocus will continue to follow Xbox One’s support for VR closely, reporting back with any further updates.