While Sony might still be pushing its PlayStation VR headset on the PS4, Microsoft is seemingly stepping away from the technology. In an interview with Stevivor, Phil Spencer (executive VP of gaming for Microsoft) stated that the company is not interested in incorporating VR into Xbox One or the next-generation Scarlett. "We're responding to what our customers are asking for," Spencer said, "and…nobody's asking for VR."
This came after Spencer noted that he has some issues with current VR technology. To him, gaming is a sort of communal effort that brings others into your circle. While wearing a VR headset, you almost go into isolation from the world. "The vast majority of our customers know if they want a VR experience, there's places to go get those," Spencer stated. "We see the volumes of those on PC and other places."
What it ultimately comes down to is how profitable investing in VR would be. Spencer pointed out how nobody is selling "millions and millions" of VR units but did remain hopeful for its future. "I think we might get there [eventually]. But yeah, that's not where our focus is." It is possible Xbox may eventually go VR, but it won't be happening anytime soon.
This declaration of intent may be seen as a good thing for many consumers. While VR technology will only continue to improve, the prohibitive cost of the equipment makes it a purely luxury accessory for gaming. Having to shell out an additional $200-400 for a headset on top of the cost of gaming hardware is just something most people can't afford.
This stance also comes as a reversal of what Spencer said a few years prior. Back in 2016, Spencer stated that VR would come to Scorpio (aka the Xbox One X) when it didn't feel like "demos and experiments." Some games make solid use of the tech, but they ultimately last for an hour or so before the experience is over.
It is possible that the launch of Half-Life: Alyx next year will change the perception around VR. With a major studio backing the tech with a full-fledged shooter, maybe gaming will finally have its killer app for the technology. Only time will tell.