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VR on Xbox One X, and why you shouldn't expect it anytime soon

Alex Kipman in VR
Alex Kipman in VR (Image credit: Windows Central)

But, where is Xbox One X VR support? Since that initial announcement, Microsoft scrubbed all information about VR from the Xbox One X websites and marketing.

HoloLens creator and Operating Systems Technical Fellow Alex Kipman presented at an array of Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) events in recent years, including one this week that was full of new announcements. Alas, still no Xbox announcements. So what's the deal?

So, where is Xbox VR?

Microsoft Studios unveiled Halo Recruit for Windows Mixed Reality this week.

Microsoft Studios unveiled Halo Recruit for Windows Mixed Reality this week.

At this week's event in San Francisco, Kipman fielded a question from the audience regarding Xbox VR, and his response is not exactly great news for those who might've been looking forward to it:

So, we've been pretty open with our VR strategy on Xbox. And the answer to that one is: when you think about Mixed Reality or Virtual Reality in the living room, to a great extent, the living room is a clean space, where you want wires to be in the right place. We just don't believe, right now – that the state of the art of what VR can do in the living room, from the headsets to the wires to the state of wireless, that as such – it's an enjoyable experience.So, what you have seen us do, is leverage this experience on PC first, where the cords are already in the right place, where the horsepower from the GPU and CPU are in the right place. And over time absolutely, we'll have it on Xbox, but we have nothing new to announce today.

Essentially. what Kipman is saying is that for most Xbox users, who game in the living room, draping wires all over the place isn't a good experience. It would take something wireless to get VR onto Xbox, and for Microsoft, that eventuality might be far in the future, as well. It's also interesting how Kipman called out the GPU and CPU as being in the "right place" on PC, perhaps calling into question whether or not the Xbox One X's customized hardware is optimized for "Ultra"-level WMR.

In a frank conversation with Giantbomb in June, Xbox head Phil Spencer discussed the issues with VR in the living room, echoing most of Kipman's comments while noting that the Xbox One X is at least powerful enough for Windows Mixed Reality:

The power of the box is fine in terms of having a VR or MR experience run on it, it's really that family room environment that we're struggling a little bit with. We're saying ok, let's stay more on the PC where we're seeing action and developer interest until we really get the art form of what it means to create great MR experiences, then it can go to more places.

So, what's it all mean for Xbox and VR?

It's more likely that WMR simply hasn't been built around Xbox One X yet, as the team focuses where VR is today – PC – and until they can perfect and improve the living room experience.

Spencer added that he thinks Microsoft is still a "few years" away from a truly viable wireless solution for Windows Mixed Reality on Xbox. While that might be a conservative estimate considering existing VR platforms are already exploring wireless solutions, it at least shows that this current generation of WMR head-mounted displays (HMDs) from Lenovo, ASUS, HP, and now Samsung, likely won't be the devices you will use to enjoy VR via your Xbox One X in the near future.

Microsoft is all-in on WMR, which comprises the full continuum, from opaque VR headsets to transparent AR headsets like HoloLens and future headsets that can do both. Gaming will form the bulk of quality apps on WMR, at least for consumers, and of course, Xbox has a part to play.

For more information on the recent Windows Mixed Reality announcements, hit the links below.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

61 Comments
  • Sounds like BS. The article posted within the last hour goes over the two setup modes for WMR, so why are you able to setup to move around freely with a PC but not an Xbox? And why not provide the more restrictive option when most Xbox gaming is done in the sitting position? Do they need differing types of "space" or do you fall over differently when using a PC vs an Xbox?
  • I mean, these "BS responses" as you say are the same Apple gives for not doing things everyone else is doing. Basically, they're not doing something just because they can, they want to reach a certain level of user experience that is satisfying before doing it. Apple does the exact same. I see the point about wires in the living room (check a PS4 VR setup for instance), it's not quite ideal when you want a clean space especially with how minimal Xbox One S/X are by comparison. I also think VR is super early, there's no rush here. Sony is not exactly crushing it with VR in the living room today and that'd be very similar to what MS would be doing.
  • I think when Xbox gets support for WMR it will support these headsets as well. Because by then WMR devices will already have a decent sized userbase and a decent amount who have Xbox's. I think they'll come up with a first-party WMR HMD that they will market it as the ideal experience but they'll support the "older" devices as well.
  • I hope that we dont have to wait long for MR on Xbox. I mean they have done it already for Hololens... okey the Hololens needs some work to be complete but its untethered and it looks awesome. I think its not so hard to bring a MR headset that is untethered because the technologie behind it is so not difficult as the Hololens. I hope we will see something next year at the of the year. And I think the content for VR/MR is not that much so the developers have some time to bring new things for the next generation of VR/MR
  • For me its not always about what apple does so I dont consider that a viable consideration when they are going full speed with PC's. Apple doesnt have a console so they arent in the same space anyway. And a wired headset setup is not ideal but its not an insurmountable situation when you consider its probably the hardcore gamers that will jump on board first; we all dealt with wired controllers so for a new tech like this and the possible benefits a wired headset could still be an appealing option. Having it on the Xbox helps in widening the audience as well; you'll get more console owners than by not providing a headset at all. And the fact that its early in its lifecycle again wont be a huge factor with gamers who for instance adopted Kinect in large numbers. If there are as many good app/games as are being touted there wont be the same content problem as the Kinect still has. And again, fixating on a competitior (Sony) misses the point, Microsoft shouldnt wait around for their competition to forge ahead in this market but try to take the lead themselves. Just look what happened to their phone business....
  • Of course. No rush. Just like there was no rush with all the other things Microsoft has had to give up on lately...come on man. Be real..this is Microsoft starting the steady decent to "falling behind" like they are so good at.
  • As I wrote yesterday, PSVR has had less than 1.5M sales since being released. If Microsoft released a device for the XB and only sold 1.5M in a year, you would be screaming that Microsoft, XB, Win Mixed Reality, Windows, etc. are failures and need to shut down now. "And why not provide the more restrictive option" Um, m Win MR headset is less restrictive on my Windows computer than what would be available on XB. I have a laptop with my HP headset plugged into it. I can walk around, take it from room to room, leave the building, go any where. Connected to a game console, I am teathered to my TV. This is not restricted to the XB, but any console. "or do you fall over differently when using a PC vs an Xbox" You may want to see a doctor. Generally, people do not fall over when using a PC nor XB. If it is something you do frequently, you may have some health issues that you should check out. You should also have your trolling problem looked out by your doc.  
  • @nohone: 3 responses and yours is the only one that makes no sense. Please ignore anything I post in the future, I will do the same for you. Thanks.
  • "the only one that makes no sense" It only makes no sense since you do not want it to. Yes, I missed one letter in my reply and didn't notice it until after the edit link disappeared. But that hardly means it makes no sense. "Please ignore anything I post in the future" I will reply and comment on anything I want. I know you want to keep any differing opinion out of the conversation, any good troll does. But as long as I do not run afoul of the TOS of this site, I will write whatever I damn well want.
  • No, it's just just nonsense, period.
  • in b4 the "something, something, Groove, something, something, IBM" crowd
  • Seriously, those jokes are getting so old already. Saying "IBM" is just lazy, short-hand analysis. Also, IBM is kinda failing, so I'm not sure why MS would want to be that lol
  • Seriously Daniel? MS is the new IBM.  Azure is IBM's mainframe concept rebuilt using distributed technologies. The only difference between IBM and MS at this point are the way they bill customers.
    MS uses consumption based billing while IBM uses a pre-calculated cost based on MIPS/yr. Sure IBM still makes PCs, but when was the last time you saw one in someone's home?  They're more for PoS systems and the like. At this rate, all they need to do is sell Xbox to Sega and they will be the new IBM.
     
  • Is Adobe the new IBM because they don't have a music service or fitness wearable?  No LOL.  They make products used by both business and consumer, same as Microsoft.  MS has 100's of millions of consumer users across a wide range of products.   BTW, IBM stopped making PC's a long time ago (sold to Lenovo).  After that they sold off their x86 server business.  They still make specialized servers like AIX Power systems, z/OS mainframe, storage systems, and bundled solutions (hardware from 3rd parties they put together with special software for specific uses). I kinda think they sold off their PoS system a while back too, but not sure.   So no, MS looks nothing like IBM now, or in the foreseeable future.  
  • Worst. Analysis. Ever. /comicbookguy Ignoring the massive differences between mainframe and cloud, let's take a look at IBM's desktop operating system. Oh wait. How about IBM's office productivity suite (also available on web)? Oh. Their cloud storage options? Hmmm. How about their gaming console and development houses? No? Cloud based database, email, IaaS, PaaS, etc?  Open source, cross platform development frameworks?  Desktop, laptop, and 2-in-1 hardware lines? LOL. Sure, Microsoft and IBM soooooo alike. W.T.F.
  • Plus, even if MS was to totally drop out of consumer (not really happening), there is another key difference that seperates them from being "IBM 2": MS makes end-user products that everyone uses everyday (Outlook, Skype, O365, etc.). IBM, for the most part, makes products that only technical professionals use (IT and dev tools, etc.).  That could change over time of course, IBM used to have end-user products like Lotus and Sametime etc., but those things are dead and were never market leading like Microsoft's products. 
  • Whether they are IBM or not, they are definitely doing a lot of flip-flopping, and dropping things that their supporters love.  I guess their real supporters are their shareholders so as long as they are happy.  Satya doesn't seem to give a damn what the consumer market thinks about MS.  In my own selfish way, as a hard-nosed Microsoft fan, I feel a little betrayed by them. Just like that little Cortana featured speaker that they are partnering with Harmon and Amazon on, I probably won't buy it because in a year or so, they'll probably have bailed on Cortana or those partners rendering the speaker useless. BTW, I can't find the mixer app in the windows store, but nm I'll just use it on my ipad.  /s
  • Makes perfect sense to me. Maybe once that new 60Ghz WiFi is more accessible and there are more games rather than showcases, it'll make a lot more sense from a business side. As it stands, VR on PlayStation is pretty much going the way of the Kinect. Huge adoption but very little momentum. Better for them so sit back now and see what happens, rather then invest heavily and it die out fast.
  • Same can be said for VR on PC.. And Microsoft is pushing their MR hard.
  • Guys, Microsoft cant afford to botch the One X launch like they did with the Xbox One. So having a VR option would have been nice, but it would risk taking away from the buildup. Let the One X be about games at $499 for now. If they botch the One X, xbox will be next on the chopping block...
  • There is no buildup for Xbox one X. It is just a hardware upgrade with better graphics basically. It would have been a bit more exciting if it could do VR out of the box.
  • "Microsoft cant afford to botch the One X launch like they did with the Xbox One."   They already did the moment they announced 500€ for that checkerboarding Ad-machine.
  • Lol ok
  • "They already did the moment they announced 500€ for that checkerboarding Ad-machine." So, since the Xbox One X is not a "checkerboarding Ad-machine" and never was announced to be one, by the rules of logic they have not botched the launch. Thanks for the optimism!
  • It is said that Intel and MS are working on the wireless VR using WiGig.  That might be another solution for the wireless VR. https://mspoweruser.com/intel-microsoft-bets-pc-wigig-based-wireless-vr/
  • look. The reality is at the moment VR is bombing hard. Let's be realistic here. PSVR is a Massive fail. So is Oculus and Vive. Sure Fanboys out there will try and sugar coat the sales somehow. But in reality PSVR has sold just over 2 million in an entire year. Then on top of that the game sales for VR content in PSVR is even worse. The experiences on the VR were great to start with. But now they are all the same. Every single game to come out is the same FPS shooter or flight combat game. The games are short and in PSVR case visuals are pretty bad. We'll sort of Ps2/3 level graphics. There is nothing meaningful out for these devices. IMO MS were going to go all in on VR, but when sales of all the devices went so badly they just waited. Made loads more sense than to rush it out. I've played VR twice. I don't own one. And yet although the experience was cool I have absolutely no intention of purchasing one yet. Especially considering the experience is shallow and short and very very niche at this point in time. We will see in 5 years. 
  • Shallow and short??? You saying resident evil 7 is shallow and short??? I call BS. You haven't played any VR games and you don't know what you are talking about.
  • PSVR is great. The kind of immersion and presence achieved by such economical hardware blew me away. It is what brought real desktop grade VR to the masses as opposed to the gimmicky toys you play on your phones. Now Microsoft is trying to tag along its success. PSVR still has the most diverse VR games to date. It is going well.
  • Even when Microsoft leads something they end up behind everyone else.
  • Phil Spencer stated at E3 that VR will not be coming to Xbox until they have a viable wireless solution, this is not new news, so why the suprise? Intel already have a wireless solution in the form of WiGig, if Microsoft can implement that technology in to the MR headsets then all is well, i'm sure something is being worked on behind the scenes as its the next obvious step for VR on any platform.
  • Cause it makes sense, MS would not do anything that actually makes sense
  • I think it's because they're planning on selling Xbox to Sega.
  • Because... Microsoft.   They are going to wait until everybody else has a grip on the market, then do a half assed attempt, and then quit.
  • Microsoft has a product today in developer kits, full products shipping in 12 days. Apple doesn't have anything in the market except for a phone app which requires you to hold your arms out full length for hours inducing gorilla-arm. They said they may do a headset, but they may not. So they have already half-assed it. Actually, they 1/10th assed it. Google have already rebooted their VR/AR/MR product a couple times, with no clear indication that they will have a new one. Their only product right now is, get this, a piece of cardboard. That is right, Google's high tech solution is cardboard that gives a vastly inferior solution to what Microsoft has. Google even dumped billions into different companies that were goind to far surpass Microsoft's solution, but haven't been heard of for years. Yes, I have tried all three of them. Microsoft's product, even still in the developer stage for another 12 days, is much better than Google's product. Apple? When I was 3 or 4 years old I used to go into a room in our house that had no windows (the holes in the wall covered with glass, not the OS). I would tape pages out of coloring books onto the wall, turn out the lights and with a flashlight shining on the coloring book page pretend that it was a movie theater. That was more immersive than Apple's drawing a couple polygons over top of the camera feed.
  • Funniest post of the day... LMAO!!!
  • I think you confused Mobile VR with Desktop VR. Google daydream and all the VR/AR stuff you do on your phone cannot be compared with real desktop grade VR: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PSVR, and now Windows MR (the "ultra" mode at least).
  • Microsoft has a product today in developer kits, full products shipping in 12 days
    Ah so Microsoft will kill it in 26 days.
  • That last image in the article defines what a company with no idea and vision means.... UI IS DUMB (FULL STOP) AND THERE ARE FIVE ADS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF IT !!!
  • You mean that when you have the store app open, they give you a way to actually buy the product by showing an image? Oh the horror! I open my iPhone and go to the store, and there are ads all over the place, ads to go to the page to download the app, ads paid for by companies to put their app at the top of the list, paid for "App of the day" ads. Since the Apple app store keeps the list of ads sorted by day, just so far this month I see 45 seperate ads! FOURTY FIVE!!!!! And also look! They have Edge open to Amazon! EVEN MORE ADS! Amazon is one big advertisement and they are promoting Amazon to buy stuff! Oh the horror, I can't take this any more. I am going to shut down my compuer and never start it again because going to pages to actually buy something is an advertisement. You are a troll, plain and simple. FULL STOP.
  • :=0 Microsoft WAKE UP!!! Consoles, represented by PS4's PSVR, have sold far more HMDs than Vive and Oculus on PC!!! They advertise that they can use it on planes, on laptops BUT NOT IN THE LIVING ROOM - because of the wires :=))) That's hillarious!
  • Yeah it is a lame excuse. I think it's more like they don't have enough content on Xbox yet. If you check the Windows 10 store, there are only a handful games and require a new operating system update. Support for SteamVR will still be in preview by the end of the year. They are rushing it out ahead of content on PC. And there will be a lot more work to adapt it to Xbox.
  • Microsoft is working with both Intel and AMD (from what I've read) on wireless VR/MR/AR that they can eventually bring to Xbox.  Still a long road ahead.
  • Looks like I'm going to get a PlayStation then
  • Get a ps4 pro, also the farpoint lightgun bundle. It's a lot fun when you can actually hold a physical gun in VR.
  • "So, we've been pretty open with our VR strategy on Xbox." Uh, no you most certainly have not...!
  • "We just don't believe, right now – that the state of the art of what VR can do in the living room, from the headsets to the wires to the state of wireless, that as such – it's an enjoyable experience." I wish MS wouldn't speak on behalf of everyone. I for one own a wired Rift and LOVE the experience, even with it's cables and all...
  • I hope the "wireless" is just an excuse for other real reason, e.g., software / sdk readyness. Why? 1) as many pointed out, PSVR 2) even 1080p wireless streaming is far from perfect, not to say MR, which requires higher framerate and absolutely no lag (otherwise motion sickness for sure). I don't think the wireless streaming technology will be ready during Xbox One X lifetime.
  • Don't worry. The PlayStation already has a VR solution that works both with the PS4 and the PS4 "Pro". So if you want VR, you can get a PlayStation. And if you want checkerboarded 4K like on the Xads One X, you can get the "Pro".   Microsoft is unlikely to care anyway. As long as the Xbox division doesn't lose them too much money, they won't care.
  • They are going to drop the Xbox division eventually if Nutella stays as CEO.
  •   Right, they just promoted Phil Spencer to the Senior Leadership Team so they could drop the section. Get real.
  • Rule of thumb: anyone who calls Satya Nadella "Nutella" is a troll. Don't feed them.
  • Why do you persist with the lies about checkerboard rendering and ads? Are you intentionally trying to act stupid or is it real?
  • Why do you persist in being blindly ignorant? The checkerboard isn't a lie, it's a fact. Which you can easily check for yourself by using this thing called "Google Search". A fact that, as soon as the One X is released to the public, will become even more abundantly proven. And the ads are even easier, the only thing you need to do is turn on a freaking Xbox.   So maybe you migth want to wake up. Otherwise you're the one who's just acting like a stupid fanboy.
  • If you read the articles, they pretty much put the blame on the developers not the XBox One X. As of now the XBox One X is the only console capable of true 4k resolutions, as shown on Forza 7. It's up to developers to take advantage of the power available. So sure, when the console is released and games like Anthem and Assassin Creed come out and folks start delving into them there will be a uproar of "checkerboarding" but since we already know that's the case pretty hard to get worked up. I say let's see what happens with the next installments of Dragon Age, Halo, or Tomb Raider. Games that will have the advantage of the One X power from the get go.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlGklt4BSQ8
  • Here we go again. I sometimes wonder why some of the complainers are here? While I agree Microsoft has made some questionable decisions, the constant whining and complaining is getting kind of old. We have no idea what the discussions are in the meetng rooms where business decisions have to made on ROI, feasablity, state fo the technology ect. Honestly, sometimes I wonder how Daniel, Jez, Jason and the rest of the crew can deal with the constant negativity, but I'm glad they do since I really enjoy thier site. Frankly, as a somewhat casual gamer, father, grandfather and husband I am pleased Microsoft is taking a cautious approach and coming loooking at the best user experiance instead of being first. The idea of having cable running around my family room to be triped over by kids, grandkids, pets, and adults is not very appealing. Plus, I have no problem seeing the afore mentioned flks pulling my $500 console out of the entertainment center, along with the reciever and Kinect it's also attched to. My experiance is PC's tend to be more isolated, either in a den, bedroom, or seperate part of a family room where the cables would be less of a problem. Also, I have yet to see a really compelling reason to jump on this tech. Other than RE7 there don't seem to be any real have to have applications available yet.  
  • I'm willing to bet that Xbox VR isn't going to happen at all with Xbox One X, not that it couldn't, but I'm thinking that 2nd generation Microsoft MR / VR headsets, a wireless one, and the future Xbox (which Phil Spencer publicly said they're thinking about as far as what would be meaningful in terms of specs) will be designed from the ground up to work together. So realistically, that means not sooner than 2020.
  • I would personally be satisfied with a mode that allowed one to plug in a WMR headset and use it for WMR titles, even with the hassle of unplugging cables (and also without SteamVR support, obviously) -- I understand that that wouldn't be an ideal situation for the average consumer, but since the hardware can handle it, I wish it was there, perhaps if one "developer unlocked" the console or similar.
  • It's just very disappointing. Almost seems that VR is coming to an end before it has even started. I have cancelled my Xbox One X as I was hoping for a better VR device compared to PSVR (I already own the XBox One S and the PS4 + PSVR). The only place where I have no problem with a few cables lying around is the living room - certainly not my office, where the PC is located - so Microsofts reasoning doesn't apply to me at all.
  • the only thing i question is the accuracy of the living room space xbox claim. yes, I know its in living room but i'll be interested in seeing that number in comparison to xbox being in the bedroom or personal space ([wo]man cave). with the de-emphasis on couch co-op in the last couple of console generations, it kind of forced more sales because anyone who wanted multiplayer had to have their own console. I'm quite sure a lot of Xboxes sold aren't for the parents but for the kids. What I'm proposing/question/skeptical (idk lol) is that the living room space, wires thing may not be AS BIG of an issue as MS is making it seem to be. Is there a way their telemetry data can tell you if your xbox is a personal xbox in a bedroom (personal space) vs living room space?
  • VR would be cool, but the current setup is expensive, a one person experience and the cables and such on many VR systems is too prone for issues. I also do not the use of controllers and feel a hands free experience would be better...so, it's cool, but still at an expensive and primative state...better than what they hoped to deliver on the PC in late 90s, but still not there. Thus, I am happy that MS is not investing(wasting) cash on this like Sony has... MrC