"I Don't Think VR Is a Now Thing," Xbox Boss Says
"It's more of an announcement than anybody really having any VR stuff right now--and that's not a shot at Sony," Phil Spencer says.
Virtual reality has been a major talking point in the past year and change, with Facebook buying Oculus, Sony announcing Project Morpheus, and most recently, Valve getting into the game with Vive VR. And while Microsoft has talked about creating its own VR headset some day, Xbox boss Phil Spencer says in a new interview that he doesn't think VR is going to take off anytime soon.
Speaking in the latest issue of Edge magazine, as reported by GamesRadar, Spencer was asked for his thoughts about not having a competitive device to launch against Sony's PlayStation 4 headset, Project Morpheus. Spencer replied: “It's more of an announcement than anybody really having any VR stuff right now--and that's not a shot at Sony. I mean, it's hard tech, and I think it's great what they're doing with Morpheus. But they've announced [it for] the first half of 2016, so a little over a year from now."
"I don't think VR is a now thing. I'm not saying it's five years from now, but it's not really a now now thing" -- Spencer
Overall, Spencer said he sees VR as "an interesting space," and one that's different than what Microsoft is doing in the "mixed reality" sector with HoloLens. All the same, Spencer stressed that, "there's nothing that precludes us from doing something in the VR space."
“There are partners out there, and while these guys are PC-based today, if we want to do something with Xbox... Right now, it's just been about technologies and things that I think we need to do on Xbox One to make the experience better, and that's where our focus has been," Spencer added. "And I don't think VR is a now thing. I'm not saying it's five years from now, but it's not really a now now thing."
In addition, Spencer teased that various VR companies are "very interested" in bringing Microsoft's Minecraft franchise to VR. No official projects have been announced, but Microsoft did show off a Minecraft HoloLens tech demo back in January. He also reiterated that Microsoft is currently exploring gaming opportunities for HoloLens, explaining that, while traditional VR experiences like Oculus or Morpheus are tethered to a PC or console, HoloLens aims to differentiate itself by being untethered in nature. But for people who do own an Xbox or PC, there could be gaming potential there with HoloLens.
"Now we can say, 'Well, OK, if I do have an Xbox or a PC, what are those scenarios?' We haven't publicly talked about what those are, but you can imagine, as we continue to drive and get success with HoloLens, those scenarios will become obvious and developers will take advantage of them," Spencer said.
The full interview with Spencer is available in the latest issue of Edge Magazine, which you can buy online right here. The issue also features more coverage for Wii U shooter Splatoon and a new interview with veteran Capcom designer Yoshinori Ono, among other things.
What's your reaction to Spencer's comments about VR? Let us know in the comments below!