Xbox Exec on State of VR -- Feels Like "Demos and Experiments"

"I think we're a couple of years before we'll really see that hit mainstream."


Virtual reality will find its place in the gaming landscape, but it might not be for a few years, according to Xbox executive Phil Spencer. He said in a new interview with Stevivor that he has tried all the major VR headsets and has found that most of the games he's playing now "feel like demos and experiments."

This is not a knock on VR, he said. "I actually think it's absolutely the right thing to have happened. That's not a criticism at all, but should be happening. But I think it will take time."

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"I think VR will find its spot in gaming; I would make that bet," Spencer went on to say. "We designed Scorpio as a VR-capable console. Whether that happens this year, next year, or the year after…"

Spencer added that he hasn't found a VR game that people spend a lot of time in, for what he called "long-term engagement." As he alluded to, most of what he's played have been shorter experiences in nature that "feel like demos and experiments."

"I don't think the creators in the game space have yet found--well, they haven't obviously perfected the craft of building VR games," Spencer added. "It's so early; I think we're a couple of years before we'll really see that hit mainstream."

The executive went on to question the broad appeal of existing VR headsets, saying they can be cumbersome with their wires, in particular. Naturally, he mentioned Microsoft's HoloLens as being a potential solution.

"In the long run, we need untethered solutions," he said. "You need to have the compute capability not be wired to my display that’s on my head. That means I either have some kind of high-bandwidth wireless HDMI or I have compute here. With the HoloLens we've chosen to put compute in the HMD itself, so it's right there. With HoloLens we picked where we think the tech's going to be in ten years, because we see a lot of people doing great work in the VR space today."

Read the full Stevivor interview here.

Project Scorpio comes out in fall 2017. Though it will be VR-ready, Microsoft has not yet announced any specific plans for the headset in the area of VR or AR.

Sony's PlayStation 4 VR headset, PlayStation VR, launched in the middle of October. Sony announced just today that sales of the device are "on track," though a specific unit sales figure was not disclosed.

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