Microsoft just deflated our hopes for a VR blowout at its Xbox E3 press conference this Sunday, but left us with a big tease of what’s to come at the same time.
Speaking to Polygon, the company confirmed that it will not be discussing VR-related plans for its refreshed Xbox One console, codenamed Project Scorpio, at the event. Technical Fellow Alex Kipman told the site that the company was currently “focused on developing mixed reality experiences for the PC, not on the console.” As such, you can expect Scorpio’s E3 showing to focus on traditional gaming, where it’s set to offer 4K resolutions and other upgrades to pre-existing and upcoming Xbox One titles.
Microsoft previously confirmed that Scorpio would be getting mixed reality support in 2018, but we still expected to hear about its plans at this year’s show. At last year’s reveal Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said the console would be capable of “high fidelity VR”, and it was hinted that Bethesda’s Fallout 4 VR might show up on the console.
It seems you can only expect fleeting mentions of VR at this year’s conference too, despite Kipman urging people to look forward to E3 at last month’s Build event.
But Kipman didn’t leave us completely empty handed, adding that it was Microsoft’s “belief that console VR should be wireless”.
Note that Kipman doesn’t specifically name Scorpio itself, though being that Xbox is Micrsoft’s only home console offering it’s likely that’s what he’s referring to. All the same, this is a surprising note; Microsoft is set to offer its own line of Windows 10 VR headsets made in partnership with other companies for PCs this holiday. It seemed likely that these kits, which feature inside-out tracking, would be the ones to support Scorpio but as far as we know they’re all tethered devices.
Does this mean Microsoft has yet another VR headset to reveal specifically for console VR? Will it feature the same inside-out tracking technology? Will it work with PCs too? Kipman’s quotes leave us with yet more questions, but it doesn’t sound like we’re going to get any answers next week.