What you need to know
- Xbox Game Studios' director Matt Booty discussed virtual and augmented reality in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
- Booty said Microsoft would need to see more interest in VR and AR before expanding into that sphere.
- Xbox head Phil Spencer has been critical of VR gaming in the past, calling it "isolating."
Apple thrust virtual reality into the forefront this year with its announcement of the Vision Pro. That headset focuses on consuming media, such as watching a sporting event as if you were courtside, or computing with a virtual desktop. While productivity-focused VR has been around for years, the technology has arguably seen most of its success in the gaming space. But based on recent comments by Xbox Game Studios' director Matt Booty, Microsoft won't bring virtual reality to the Xbox platform any time soon.
Booty's interview with The Hollywood Reporter was mostly about video game franchises expanding into film and television, but it also included a noteworthy portion on virtual reality.
"I think for us, it’s just a bit of wait until there’s an audience there. We’re very fortunate that we have got these big IPs that have turned into ongoing franchises with big communities," said Booty.
"We have 10 games that have achieved over 10 million players life-to-date, which is a pretty big accomplishment, but that’s the kind of scale that we need to see success for the game and it’s just, it’s not quite there yet with AR, VR."
The potential number of users seems to be a determining factor on when, or if, Microsoft ventures into VR on Xbox. Sony's PlayStation VR2 sold 600,000 units in its first six weeks (via Engadget). That figure exceeded the sales of the first PlayStation VR's launch in the same time span, but it is likely far below the threshold Microsoft would want to see before expanding in that direction.
When Microsoft initially announced the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, the company said that the consoles would support virtual reality. It later backtracked on that and decided to launch them without VR support.
Xbox head Phil Spencer has spoken harshly about virtual reality before. Back in 2019, Spencer said that "nobody's asking for VR" on Xbox. "I have some issues with VR — it's isolating and I think of games as a communal, kind of together experience," he said at the time.
Between Booty's comments this week and Spencer's comments in the past, it seems unlikely that we'll see VR support on Xbox in the near future.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.
"Xbox head Phil Spencer has spoken harshly about virtual reality before. Back in 2019, Spencer said that "nobody's asking for VR" on Xbox. "I have some issues with VR — it's isolating and I think of games as a communal, kind of together experience," he said at the time."Reply
I find that comment odd. I'd say most gamers sit alone playing games, but connect online to play with others. How does VR impact that? Could it actually make it more communal if say in the upper corner you could actually see the face/avatar of someone you were playing with?
I believe it would sell, if they gave it the attention and games to make a desire for it and not half ass it like they did Kinect.
And yes, while I am at it....Bring back Kinect! :-D