Xbox’s Phil Spencer: Sony’s VR Unit Is ‘Great’, Teams Visit Each Other

by Jamie Feltham • April 14th, 2017

VR in its current state is a highly collaborative industry, with companies showing a rare sign of sportsmanship as they share best practises for development both on hardware and software. That said, we still wouldn’t expect console rivals Microsoft and Sony to show their hands to each other, but that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Talking to Gamasutra, Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Phil Spencer noted that the company had invited Sony to check out its HoloLens mixed reality headset, and Sony had done the same with its PlayStation VR (PSVR) device. Spencer called the current VR community “really open.”

“The Sony guys have been great,” he added, “they’ve had our teams down, we’ve had them up to look at HoloLens and stuff that’s been going on. Obviously Valve’s about a stone’s throw from here. So the VR community itself is actually very collaborative because I think everybody realizes how early we are in the evolution of what this thing is about.”

Back when PSVR and Facebook’s Oculus Rift were in early development the two would talk about how the teams would meet up to showcase their hardware and talk about getting the most out of each other’s devices. Still, with Sony’s PlayStation 4 currently locked in the endless battle for sales with Microsoft’s Xbox One, it’s surprising to see the two work together.

Spencer also spoke about his belief in an open VR ecosystem, which others were failing to provide right now.

Currently the PS4 is the only VR capable home gaming console on the market, but that’s set to change with the launch of Microsoft’s upgraded Xbox One, codenamed Project Scorpio. Announced last year, the system is said to be capable of “high fidelity VR”, which it will bring to the console in 2018. There’s still a lot to learn about Microsoft’s plans for VR, though, and seeing how they stack up to PSVR will be one of 2017’s most interesting stories. E3 is just a few weeks away now, and we’re expecting things to really heat up then.

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  • dan bryant

    Come on Microsoft
    Make your future VR games on the windows 10 store compatible with Rift and Vive!

    • Nemesis

      Microsoft stated they aren’t making any VR games.
      Why are you using the Windows 10 store?

      • why not?

        • Jim Cherry

          Cause they want to make Mixed Reality, as in at least some of users environment included. Then again future vr headsets could easily add some inside out tracking to the array of outside in tracking currently used.

          • DoubleDurp

            it does normal VR as well noob

  • integraBuff

    It would be awesome if you could use any HMD (Rift, Vive, PSVR) with the Scorpio. Right now any HMD can technically be connected to a PC (unofficially psvr) so its not too much of a stretch.

    • Nemesis

      You’re an idiot.
      I’m sorry.

      • Boya J

        Ok Nemesis, very convincing argument from character. IntegraBuff is completely right, I have a psvr that works with pc via Trinius. Considering Microsoft isn’t pushing it’s own HMD and that the entire VR industry wants normalized standards, Xbox scorpio would fly off the shelves for anyone looking for console VR.

    • Project Scorpio will essentially be a consumer-friendly gaming PC that runs Windows 10. So I’m sure it will be compatible with many VR headsets

    • Nicholas

      It would be awesome, but unlikely to happen on the Scorpio as Microsoft don’t control the driver support or interface to these HMDs and I doubt they’d allow a third party to mess with the console OS. Microsoft are far more likely to release a Scorpio-branded HMD and/or support the approved Windows HMDs.

  • Captain Howdy

    I work at EB games and the PSVR is just not selling at any of our locations. Sometimes an entire week will go by and none of our locations have sold a single one. Our head district manager just wants to get rid of them. Rumor is Sony has not even sold a million units. And with the sales in our stores I would believe it. Our general feeling is Sony is going to quietly walk away from this consul.

    • Nemesis

      VR is still expensive.
      PSVR is still the top selling high end VR headset though.

    • venton415

      Must be only where you live. I was looking to get a PSVR for a while, but it was always sold out at every GameStop in the city. They FINALLY had one, and I picked it up. Been having a blast with it. Most amazing piece of technology I have ever owned. Like some guy once said, it’s not a game, it’s an experience.

      • Captain Howdy

        I agree it’s an experience. There’s always that post Christmas slow down. i guess until a full year goes by we will have a better idea.

    • Sefus

      actually I think the reason psvr isn’t selling at your location such as ebgames is because people are buying online at places like amazon, and places like that, I don’t go to gamestop or best buy anymore to buy games, I just go to the playstation store and download it, why go to a store when all you have to do is get online and order or download something, you know everybody has smart phones no one uses landlines anymore, people buy and download things from the internet so no one goes to gamestop anymore. I think vr and ar will one day do the same with the flat screen why watch something on a flat screen when you can be in it. that’s how tech works it replaces the stuff.

      • Captain Howdy

        Yeah, ordering online is if you can wait to have your product. Stores are now mainly for people who want it right away and don’t want to wait for delivery. Even if you have the option to expedite your order, you could just go to a retailer and buy what you want after work. I prefer order online if I don’t mind waiting for the product. Also too, you need to be home on the day the order is delivered or you’ll get some idiot delivery person just leaving a nice new VR on the front of your doorstep.

        • Toby Zuijdveld

          Does your store have a section set up to play and experience the peripheral that costs more than the base console itself? If not, it’s their own fault.

          • Captain Howdy

            We haven’t done it since the beginning of January. Everyone loves it but everyone mostly complained about the price.

    • WingsOfChicken

      It’s DEFINITELY where you live because it’s sold out everywhere here…they finally just got new shipments in and it’s the first time I’ve seen them since launch

      • Captain Howdy

        Keep an eye on that new shipment, keep me posted how fast they run out of stock.

        • Toby Zuijdveld

          Keep in mind Sony stopped advertisements prior to launch since they couldn’t meet demand and haven’t restarted them yet (presumably this will kick back off at E3).

    • Toby Zuijdveld

      “Rumor is Sony has not even sold a million units.”
      It’s not a rumour, Sony has stated as such. Prior to launch, Sony indicated that more than ‘a few hundred thousand’ sales would please them, since then they’ve stated 500k was the break-even point. They’ve sold almost as many units as their two closest competitors combined. The device is considered by all metrics to be a success.

      • Captain Howdy

        I don’t know, Forbes magazine painted a pretty grim picture about the numbers but hey, if Sony’s happy with the numbers then who am I to say?

  • QUIMICOMORTAL

    Huh! that one I didnt see it comming!

  • Mark

    This why i love phil, hes such a stand up guy he knows that competition is healthy it just allow companies to push harder.