At Microsoft they go from virtual reality on their consoles, and seeing the limited success of PSVR, they may be right
If, like me, you are users of the new Xbox, you will know that ‘Star Wars: Squadrons’ is coming these days to the fantastic Game Pass platform. It does not (at the moment) on PC, and that means that we are left without an option that is especially noteworthy in this title: be able to play it in virtual reality.
microsoft indeed completely skip virtual reality on the xbox. A rumor this week pointed to hypothetical virtual reality glasses for the Xbox, but in Redmond they have categorically denied such a possibility and assure that “virtual reality for consoles is not currently in our focus.” Why is the Xbox Series X not and the PS4/PS5 yes?
A niche that doesn’t quite materialize
Virtual reality, it must be recognized, is at its best. The catalog of games does not stop growing, but above all we are facing a generation of fantastic virtual reality glasses. The Oculus Quest 2 is probably the current benchmark – especially in this new era of autonomous and wireless glasses -, and joins other notable devices such as the Valve Index.
At Microsoft they have always ruled out that option, something curious considering that 1) mixed reality is a clear option for users of Windows 10-based PCs and 2) the Xbox Series X they have power to spare to offer that option.
Virtual reality, yes. it’s still a relatively small niche within the world of entertainment. In January 2021 there were more than 2 million connected virtual reality devices according to Steam figures, almost double what was registered on the same dates the previous year, but the market success is limited according to Statista data.
That seems to be a clear argument for not investing in this market in its consoles in the case of Microsoft. His decision contrasts with that of Sonywhich has sold at least 5 million PSVR glasses and in fact recently announced that they will have new virtual reality glasses for the PS5, but they will not arrive until (at least) 2022.
Its current virtual reality glasses, already veteran, are logically inferior to other more modern devices on the market, but the firm has revealed up to six new titles for 2021 that will take advantage of this accessory despite representing only a small portion of the target audience who has a PS4 or PS5.
The effort required for this type of product is enormous, and in fact Microsoft already suffered the failure of Kinect on the Xbox One. Despite its virtues, the peripheral became a drag on the sales of the console, and in Redmond they ended up completely abandoning it in the new Xbox Series X/S, which does not even have the option to use this accessory.
In any case, at Microsoft they talked about virtual reality not being their focus on their consoles… currently. That seems not to close the door completely to this optionsomething normal considering that Microsoft is betting on this market and that of augmented reality with its HoloLens for the future.