A new report from Cnet claims what we’ve long suspected; Microsoft’s Xbox VR headset has been put on ice.
The tech site cites sources familiar with the matter in saying that Microsoft was indeed working on a VR headset for its Xbox One console and had even partnered with a few developers to bring games to the system. Sources reportedly noted that the headset’s specs were good, but didn’t measure up to the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, which suggests it may have been in line with Sony’s PlayStation VR (PSVR) headset for PS4. Plans for a release were apparently put on hold in order to wait for better technology that could deliver a much more immersive experience.
Microsoft’s messaging around Xbox VR definitely seems to correlate with this story. Nearly two and a half years ago at E3 2016 the company introduced its upgraded Xbox One console, Xbox One X to the world, stating that it was capable of true 4K gaming and “high fidelity VR”. A video teasing the project even included Bethesda’s Todd Howard talking about the VR version of Fallout 4 the studio was making at the time. In early 2017, the company again teased that the console would get “mixed reality experiences” in 2018.
Then, later on at E3 2017, Xbox One X was revealed in full without so much as a mention of VR. Xbox executives stated that the console could run VR experiences, but wouldn’t confirm that it ever actually would. In an interview just before the show, the company’s Alex Kipman stated that it was Microsoft’s belief that “console VR should be wireless”.
Fast forward a year later to E3 2018 and Microsoft finally admitted it had no plans to bring VR to Xbox One X at this time. Microsoft has partnered with companies like Dell and Asus to release a line of Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets, but these are only for PC.
It would seem that any plans for VR on Xbox One X are dead, then, but this report does at least leave hope for the future of Xbox VR. At this year’s E3 Head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirmed that the company is hard at work on “the next Xbox consoles”. Hopefully VR is a part of that work.