Xbox Remains Reluctant To Get Involved in VR

An interview with Albert Penello of Microsoft reveals why Xbox won't be going VR.

Since the launch of the PlayStation VR, critics and analysts have been wondering when Microsoft would match its rivals at Sony and produce its own virtual reality (VR) device for the console. Despite many confusing, teasing statements, it has still yet to happen. A new interview may cast some light on the reasons.

Speaking with Wired, Albert Penello, senior director of product management at Microsoft spoke about the launch of the new Xbox One X and the general trajectory of the development of the Xbox since the original Xbox was launched back in 2002.

There was much anticipation in the run up to this year’s E3 that Microsoft was going to announce some manner of VR capability for the Xbox One. Speculation was rife, with some predicting that VR capability would be restricted to the more powerful Xbox One X, while others though Microsoft would go the route of revealing cross-compatibility with the upcoming Windows 10 mixed reality headsets. Ultimately, none of that happened. Penello gives some hints as to why: “There’s still a tonne of experimentation in VR,” Penello says. “That’s not designed to be a backhanded statement.”

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Penello went on to compare VR with the 3DTV, something that many see as a failed experiment: “There are obviously consumer products. Moving the problem into the display of your goggles versus the limits of the TV was a result of some of the 3D TV challenges. But VR has so much potential. Is it a viable consumer product? For a certain size of audience.”

It also seems that Microsoft may have been burned by the failure of the Kinect: “We learned with Kinect and the Wii that just translating a typical game experience to VR is not a winning strategy. It’s the oddball VR-specific stuff that makes it sing. It wasn’t something we wanted to distract developers with this year.”

It seems we shouldn’t be expecting any VR announcements for the Xbox any time soon. VRFocus will bring you the latest if that should change.

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