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Opinion Hardware Platform Time To Say It: There's No Excuse For Microsoft Not Supporting VR on Xbox

What do you think MS's near-term to long-term move(s) for VR on Xbox are (Choose All That Apply)?

  • 3P VR whitelisted compatibility

    Votes: 76 38.2%
  • 1P VR hardware (9th gen)

    Votes: 8 4.0%
  • 1P VR software (9th gen)

    Votes: 12 6.0%
  • 1P VR hardware (10th gen)

    Votes: 18 9.0%
  • 1P VR software (10th gen)

    Votes: 16 8.0%
  • 1P AR (Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality) hardware (10th gen)

    Votes: 19 9.5%
  • 1P AR (Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality) software (10th gen)

    Votes: 15 7.5%
  • None of the above (MS will never support VR or AR/MR)

    Votes: 106 53.3%

  • Total voters
    199
  • This poll will close: .
Aug 28, 2019
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If you're waiting for VR on Xbox, you might be waiting for a pretty long time :/

Just this past week, Sony finally came forward and revealed some of the specifications, including look and design, for PSVR2, and needless to say, it looks amazing. If they can nail the pricing (and if it comes around where PSVR Gen 1 did, they will), that combined with their 1P initiatives in the VR space will provide some amazing experiences...

...experiences that won't be possible on platforms like Xbox Series, unless Microsoft finally steps into the consumer VR space on the console side. So, why haven't they yet? I've been listening to some well-known voices in the community, including those who mainly only cover Xbox content, essentially say the reason for this is because Microsoft want to focus their 1P on traditional gaming (non-VR) content, and not splinter their internal development efforts between that and VR content. However, the more I think about it, the more this explanation sounds kind of BS, let me explain.



Not the official look. But anyway, VR solutions like the PSVR 2 are set to help further innovate and proliferate VR gaming among the mainstream

See, at this point myself and others aren't even asking Microsoft to devote 1P developers to VR content! They do have some teams that are familiar with the tech, like Ninja Theory (imagine Project Mara or Hellblade II, with its 3D audio capabilities, in a VR environment), iD Software, Bethesda etc., and some of them are still continuing those efforts in part on PC versions of their games. But it actually makes no sense that, going on five years since Microsoft tickled the idea of VR on Xbox, they have not seemingly so much as even formed a strategic partnership with a current VR provider like Samsung or HTC, to provide a means of their headsets being officially supported on Series platforms. Even if that means VR efforts on Xbox would fall mainly on 3P developers, at least with that approach they are providing the option to their customer base within the ecosystem. It'd be up to the players to purchase those 3P headsets, but at least they would have an additional platform to use them on now.

It's also not like Microsoft doesn't have experience building VR (or even AR) solutions for non-gaming ventures. They have done so for military, medical and various research fields, and that is both tech and expertise they could funnel down to a consumer device. Now, they could in fact at this moment be R&D'ing on such a device, but some of their own public statements don't indicate this. When you listen to certain prominent voices in Xbox community spaces, one of the things they also bring up (in terms of trying to justify why Microsoft not get involved in VR)..well, actually it's two talking points, and the more I think about them the more I think these are also BS.

The first goes back to what I said about the idea of MS focusing their 1P on non-VR gaming content. However, the way some phrase it would make you think Microsoft's 1P are incapable of supporting traditional and VR gaming content simultaneously. The way some put it, you'd even think Microsoft and Xbox are incompetent in being able to even provide support for 3P VR headsets as a mere option of peripheral to Xbox owners. These are both nonsensical arguments, especially the latter, considering Microsoft have no problem selling Elite controllers, expansion cards and lots of other peripherals to Xbox players...what difference would one more in terms of a VR headset (and again, it would not even need to be a 1P one, just support for a 3P headset) make?



1P Microsoft studios like Bethesda Softworks have no problem with providing VR-geared content for even
their biggest games, would it not be quite cool to explore the planets of Starfield in VR on
an Xbox Series X or S?

The second argument for this line of justification by such sorts, though, is quite outlandish IMO; the idea that VR is simply too niche to conjure Microsoft's involvement in any way within the consumer space. Now sure, VR is in no way outselling traditional gaming consoles (let alone smartphones), but you don't sell 10 million headsets in the course of one year (in the case of the Oculus Quest 2) if VR is "niche" to the point of drawing no money. In fact, you don't get companies as big as Meta, Samsung, Sony, HTC etc. investing into VR the way they do, if they don't see at least promise for revenue from it. That could be in terms of direct hardware sales, or what presence the devices can do for larger product ecosystems they are within (such as in the case of the PSVR2), or the various consumer services and entertainment fields VR solutions can allow manufacturers to get into.

And, let's also be honest here, if VR is "niche", then by the metrics of which we've seen Netflix-style gaming subscription growth compared to VR sales growth, then the former would also fall under classification of being "niche". GamePass saw roughly 10 million new subscribers in the year of 2020, meanwhile Quest 2 sold 10 million units in 2021. If this is a pure numbers thing, and the prevailing idea is that services like GamePass are sustainable (but may not be raking in tons and tons of revenue/profit...yet)....then why can't these type of game subscription services also be considered "niche"? Why are companies like Microsoft, Amazon etc. investing tons of millions into something "niche"? Is it possibly because they see the other potential financial & resource benefits it can bring in years to come? If so, why not hold that same speculation for companies like Sony actively investing into VR right now?



It may be an awesome service, but just going by the numbers what makes something like GamePass any less "niche" than VR gaming?

Again, I'll just make it simple: if Microsoft doesn't want to take the full plunge into VR this generation, if they just want to dip their toes into it, that is fine. We're not asking for them to devote large 1P resources to VR gaming content, we're not even asking them to release a 1P headset anytime soon. Just whitelist compatibility for specific 3P headsets on Xbox consoles, that would be enough of a start. But the idea that they can skip even that, and just ignore the VR space altogether this generation, is an ill-conceived one IMO. And in many ways, I extend this to Nintendo as well: they may still be haunted by the ghost of Virtual Boy, but the Labo VR stuff did pretty decently for the Switch, and there are cheap, affordable (if not exactly mindblowing) VR solutions for mobile right now. There exist lots of game design potential for various Nintendo properties in the VR space, it would be a shame if they continued to use penny-pinching R&D habits as an excuse to not explore some deeper VR solutions for the Switch 2.



That's right; you too, Nintendo! Don't stop at simply Labo VR, you can do a
ton more with VR on the Switch 2 and you know it!

That said, and considering their proliferation in the PC space where the best (technologically speaking) VR solutions currently reside, it just feels more odd that Microsoft aren't at least extending some compatibility support for that on Xbox consoles. It would even give more of a potential reason for some to subscribe to GamePass, of all things! But they won't get the chance to see these benefits if they don't take the first step, and sooner rather than later. But I'm interested in seeing what others have to say on the matter. Do you think it's time Microsoft at least open up support for some third-party VR devices on Xbox platforms, to therein open up the possibilities even more for creative ideas to proliferate within the VR gaming software space (thereby also being beneficial for other manufacturers and developers in the space)? Do you feel them doing such would help in encouraging a faster clip of VR adoption among the mainstream? Do you feel it's time they shoot beyond that and push for their own 1P VR headset solution with some 1P content to match? Or, do you think, even after all that's been said here, that VR is a waste of time, a fad, and not worth pursuing?

As usual I look forward to seeing your responses!
 

Belthazar

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It's a very expensive venture that I don't think would do much good to Microsoft's goal tbh. The potential audience will be way smaller than PSVR's (probable half if things stay the same), and that didn't exaclty set the charts on fire (even though it was as successful as it could at the time).
 

StateofMajora

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Aug 7, 2020
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I commend microsoft for not investing in a stupid fad technology. They don’t chase gimmicks like Sony does, not since kinect ; just compare the two company’s controllers.

Even though MS QC on their controller is way worse they don’t add stupid crap like light bars, sixaxis, touchpad etc. Or a big brother mic in the controller either :/
 
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There was more kinects sold than psvr….would you consider psvr a failure??
Well it's true Kinect sold magnitudes more than PSVR and what PSVR2 likely will, but I guess it can be considered a failed venture in the gaming space to some extent considering it's no longer a product offered in the gaming space and has no successor from MS there. Also their push for it with XBO ended up hurting the platform.

It's found lots of uses in non-gaming areas, however, so no it's not fair to call Kinect an overall failure. The tech itself is still amazing.

I think with Lord Carmack overseeing Oculus, Phil doesn’t feel like trying to compete in that arena as you’ll always be playing catch up to him.

Carmack's involved with Oculus? Huh...I should've paid more attention there...

It's a very expensive venture that I don't think would do much good to Microsoft's goal tbh. The potential audience will be way smaller than PSVR's (probable half if things stay the same), and that didn't exaclty set the charts on fire (even though it was as successful as it could at the time).

But the same could be said of their game subscription services like GamePass, no? If you just go by console install base, GamePass should be at 1-2 million or so if they were to only do half of PS Now's numbers. Instead they're a great deal beyond PS Now's subscription base numbers.

Why could they not make a similar effort with a VR solution? It wouldn't be locked to just the Xbox consoles, they could even just lean into game streaming for the device. And that's considering they did a 1P headset; all I'm asking for here is them to consider allowing whitelisted 3P headsets to be compatible with Xbox platforms.
 
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Stephen Curry

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I'd rather have MS focus on their first party games rather than invest tons into technology that 1% of Xbox players will use.

VR at this stage is a complete gimmick and a waste of time. The games are extremely limited in terms of actual gameplay and not even close to being worth the price of admission. The only game that was close to being a "system seller" was Half Life: Alyx and barely anyone even played that.
 

SteadyEvo

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Sep 16, 2021
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No thanks. Keep focus on improving their 1st party games. Traditional games. None of that headset crap. I’m talking shit but will admit I’ve never tried it. Also have no desire to put on a massive headset and further isolate myself from the world. Regular gaming already does a great job of that.
 

Sosokrates

Founder of western console warring.
Feb 22, 2017
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If I were them. I would make windows mixed reality compatible with series X and S, but I wouldn't put much resources into it.
People have to remember that resources you put into VR is less resources to go into pancake games, which is where the vast majority of people still play games.

I would start to get more serious about it when lenses and screens give a lot clearer view. Navigation still needs a lot of work, there needs to be an affordable omni treadpad like in ready player one and better calculated motion systems.
Most people are not going to spend a lot of time in VR if its vastly less comfortable then reality, unless the content is really compelling, which it isn't.
 

Stuart360

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Phil never seems very interested in VR when he talks about it in the past.
If i had to guess i'd say the best we will get is Microsoft licensing one or more of the PC headsets. In fact i wouldnt be surprised if they are waiting it out to see which one becomes the most mainstream, then license it.

I still dont think VR will be mainstream, proper mainstream as in 50mil+ sales, until VR headsets look like this -



Maybe when we get to this point, Microsoft will jump in.
 
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Sosokrates

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The moment everyone decided to brush what Phil Spencer said during the unveiling of the One X under the the rug the writing was on the wall.


Honestly it's nonsense considering they have WMR headsets. Just fucking support them and give Xbox gamers an avenue to get involved with VR if they want to.

Microsoft knows that the AR/VR future is still undecided. Going into VR now is not a business, its an investment that wont necessarily pay off.
 

R6Rider

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I commend microsoft for not investing in a stupid fad technology. They don’t chase gimmicks like Sony does, not since kinect ; just compare the two company’s controllers.

Even though MS QC on their controller is way worse they don’t add stupid crap like light bars, sixaxis, touchpad etc. Or a big brother mic in the controller either :/
LMAO Imagine being in this much denial.

"EVERYTHING IS A GIMMICK AND BAD!"
 
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I think VR still has a long way to go before it has any real major impact on the gaming space (specifically the console space), and once it gets to that point Xbox can easily just partner with one of the big 3rd party VR companies to become "the official VR headset of Xbox".

I think the amount of people buying a PS5 over an Xbox primarily due to VR, or avoiding buying an Xbox because it lacks VR is a rather negligible amount of people at this stage.

And while it would be nice for them to allow VR support from 3rd party devs, that would probably create an expectation that they would start developing 1st party VR games, and I'd rather keep those devs making "traditional" games until VR is more mainstream and higher quality
 

anthony2690

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I would rather Microsoft fully focus on 1st party games that actually interest me.

Over a gimmick, honestly RE7 is probably the best experience alongside beat saber, but even then I rather relax and play RE7 on a big TV and not use VR (it looks WAY better not in VR anyway)

Hell, every single person I know that purchased and owned a vr device, outside showing it off a few times, their devices are now caked in dust or got sold off (also probably caked in dust somewhere)
 
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GHG

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Microsoft knows that the AR/VR future is still undecided. Going into VR now is not a business, its an investment that wont necessarily pay off.

Funny how quickly people go from "Microsoft are one of the richest companies in the world, look at the warchest" to talking about the need to be financially conservative whenever the subject of VR comes up.

All you should care about from this company in particular is getting the best experiences possible, don't worry, they can afford it.
 

fermcr

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VR is a gimmick... that will soon fade away... again...


... and to prove it, no one is really fully supporting VR. Sony isn't fully supporting VR (you don't see Sony's best studios making exclusive VR games). Steam isn't fully supporting VR (they made Half Life Alyx, what else?). Facebook gave up VR (I think?)... Nintendo and Microsoft don't much care for VR. EA, Ubisoft, etc, nope. Who remains?

In a few years there will be a lot of people with very expensive VR kits, tucked away, gathering dust.
 
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ZoukGalaxy

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They sadly lacking vision, VR will be definitely part of the future. SONY got the note and I thank them for the PSVR: it's my favorite device EVER.
Wish Microsoft was part of the party to develop even more the market, they will understand but too late.

Note: your poll is too cryptic o_O

  • 3P VR whitelisted compatibility
  • 1P VR hardware (9th gen)
  • 1P VR software (9th gen)
  • 1P VR hardware (10th gen)
  • 1P VR software (10th gen)
  • 1P AR (Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality) hardware (10th gen)
  • 1P AR (Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality) software (10th gen)
  • None of the above (MS will never support VR or AR/MR)
 
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I'd rather have MS focus on their first party games rather than invest tons into technology that 1% of Xbox players will use.

VR at this stage is a complete gimmick and a waste of time. The games are extremely limited in terms of actual gameplay and not even close to being worth the price of admission. The only game that was close to being a "system seller" was Half Life: Alyx and barely anyone even played that.

TBF I don't recall Half-Life: Alyx getting a big marketing push. In fact few VR games tend to. How can you sell in big volumes if you don't promote your product?

No thanks. Keep focus on improving their 1st party games. Traditional games. None of that headset crap. I’m talking shit but will admit I’ve never tried it. Also have no desire to put on a massive headset and further isolate myself from the world. Regular gaming already does a great job of that.

They can do both if they really wanted. I mean, they're still supporting the traditional game delivery model while also trying to push game subscriptions an game streaming, right?

The moment everyone decided to brush what Phil Spencer said during the unveiling of the One X under the the rug the writing was on the wall.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/technology-40244066

Honestly it's nonsense considering they have WMR headsets. Just fucking support them and give Xbox gamers an avenue to get involved with VR if they want to.

Yeah it's sad that it was just conveniently ignored, and has rarely been brought up since in interviews. They're too seemingly pessimistic on VR IMO. Like you said, even just whitelisting certain 3P headsets to be compatible on Xbox platforms would go a long way. It adds more options for players in the ecosystem, and that's supposedly one of Microsoft's main mottos right? More options, more ways to play your games.

It feels almost contradictory in a sense that they have no form of VR support on console.

Add support and whitelist PC VR headsets

PSVR2 seems awesome but I don't want to buy two sets for console/PC

You can hack PSVR 1 for PC IIRC, but official support would be nice for PSVR 2.

There's a good chance for that IMO, considering it's using USB Type-C connection this time around. If they do add official PC support, that will be my VR solution for PC VR gaming and add extra value for PS5 if or when I'd pick one up.
 
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Sosokrates

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Funny how quickly people go from "Microsoft are one of the richest companies in the world, look at the warchest" to talking about the need to be financially conservative whenever the subject of VR comes up.

All you should care about from this company in particular is getting the best experiences possible, don't worry, they can afford it.

Oh lay off the console war mentality.

Just because a company is worth trillions does not mean they need to be in every market. So rediculous.
And your telling me what I should worry about? Dude im answering the OP question... you 🍩
 
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Abriael_GN

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"There's No Excuse For Microsoft Not Supporting VR on Xbox"

Why do they need an excuse? VR support is not mandatory. Nor it should be.

It's like saying "There's no excuse for Sony not to have a flight simulator on PlayStation" 😂

Not all console manufacturers need to do everything. Pick the ones that do what you want.
 
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Markio128

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Sony made a tidy bit of profit from PSVR1, so it was clearly a good decision. There wouldn’t be a PSVR2 otherwise. And devs now have the opportunity to release their games on multiple hardware, which gradually builds the VR space in general, so it is surprising MS haven’t jumped in, especially with their strong PC ties.

But then, the MS community seems very vocal about how much of a waste of time it is, so…

Im Not Surprised Nate Diaz GIF by UFC
 

GHG

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Yeah it's sad that it was just conveniently ignored, and has rarely been brought up since in interviews. They're too seemingly pessimistic on VR IMO. Like you said, even just whitelisting certain 3P headsets to be compatible on Xbox platforms would go a long way. It adds more options for players in the ecosystem, and that's supposedly one of Microsoft's main mottos right? More options, more ways to play your games.

It feels almost contradictory in a sense that they have no form of VR support on console.

The WMR headsets are their own making.

As far as this topic goes though, I'll just say it. This is largely a community that will only get excited about VR (or anything else) when Phil Spencer tells them they are allowed to get excited.

Until then the blinkers will be on and nothing is likely to change. You can probably already see it in this thread (and pretty much any other recent thread on the topic) but you're fighting a steep uphill battle with this one.

Oh lay off the console war mentality.

Just because a company is worth trillions does not mean they need to be in every market. So rediculous.
And your telling me what I should worry about? Dude im answering the OP question... you 🍩

Yawn.

They are already in the market. They are just arbitrarily telling Xbox users they are not allowed to participate. Instead of you telling them it's nonsense and demanding better you're all like "yes Microsoft, please take care of your cash flow first, innovation is too hard and expensive, don't worry about me".
 

brian0057

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> Kinect selling over 35 million units on a $100 device.
> "It's a failure. Let's bury it with those E.T. Atari cartridges."
> VR as a whole sells less units than the Wii U.
> "Why isn't Microsoft making one so I can justify the $300 to $400 I spent on this thing?".
 
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Oh lay off the console war mentality.

Just because a company is worth trillions does not mean they need to be in every market. So rediculous.
And your telling me what I should worry about? Dude im answering the OP question... you 🍩

TBF, you'd be surprised how many technologies, consortiums etc. Microsoft have investments in. Them and Sony, for that matter. They have their hands in lots of places tech-wise.

Why do they need an excuse? VR support is not mandatory. Nor it should be.

It's like saying "There's no excuse for Sony not to have a flight simulator on PlayStation" 😂

Difference between those being one is a genre of game so it's ridiculous to think every platform holder needs to cover all the same genres.

OTOH, VR is a major technology that could (along with AR) end up readily innovating game design in big ways if adoption rates improve over the course of the generation. Ignoring it is like ignoring CD technology for a game console in the mid '90s. And as Nintendo showed, that ultimately wasn't for the best.

Sony made a tidy bit of profit from PSVR1, so it was clearly a good decision. There wouldn’t be a PSVR2 otherwise. And devs now have the opportunity to release their games on multiple hardware, which gradually builds the VR space in general, so it is surprising MS haven’t jumped in, especially with their strong PC ties.

But then, the MS community seems very vocal about how much of a waste of time it is, so…

Im Not Surprised Nate Diaz GIF by UFC

Yeah I have been a bit surprised the way some Xbox-centric content creators are hand-waving off VR on Xbox in general. I mean if they think asking for a 1P solution is too much right now, why not at least put a feeler out there for MS to whitelist a 3P headset or two for compatibility on Series systems?

That would not be asking for very much and would immediately open up new options for players on the platform, and likely encourage more ports and game content, even more 1P support from select studios (beyond what a small number of them do already).

The WMR headsets are their own making.

As far as this topic goes though, I'll just say it. This is largely a community that will only get excited about VR (or anything else) when Phil Spencer tells them they are allowed to get excited.

Until then the blinkers will be on and nothing is likely to change. You can probably already see it in this thread (and pretty much any other recent thread on the topic) but you're fighting a steep uphill battle with this one.

Ah yeah that is right, the Mixed Reality stuff...I sometimes forget about it because I don't come across too much news on them, granted I don't pay attention to tech news regarding the military, medical fields etc. that much which is were WMR resides.

On the other stuff tho, unfortunately at least among some individuals that does seem to be the case. TBF, the same can be seen with some individuals on the PlayStation side with certain topics, and even Nintendo ones on yet other topics, but this one is centric to Xbox and what they could be doing to at least encourage VR adoption a bit more. Because Xbox is a massive platform, and a mainstream gaming brand. If they offered some type of support for VR on the platform it would only help with mainstream acceptance of VR as a gaming technology, on top of what Sony and Oculus, etc. efforts are already doing in that regard.

Maybe for some it's flashbacks to Kinect XBO, but the situations are nowhere near equivalent this time. In this case, Microsoft don't even need to provide their own 1P solution; just partner with a Samsung or HTC, whitelist their device, or co-develop a cheap VR device with WMR features integrated in carried under the Samsung/HTC etc. brand and leave it at that for a while. It'd be better than the nothing they are providing in that space for Series as of this time.

It's a bit crazy too because some of these same individuals were quick to shout down the planned 100% price hike to XBL Gold early last year, and rightfully so. However, maybe they only did it because they felt it would've personally affected them much more directly. They don't perceive lack of VR support on their platform hurts them, but IMO it can potentially hurt the argued value proposition of the platform which in turn can affect the platform which in turn could also affect them, in a more subtle way.

Maybe if they took a moment to see it from that perspective they would be at least okay with questioning Microsoft on whitelisting a 3P VR headset for Series compatibility in the near future.
 
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Kokoloko85

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Im sure they will join in a couple more generations. Probably like how they joined the console industry much later on.
Nintendo will join too when the Tech is better and cheaper
 
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I dont see them supporting a headset any time soon.

Gamepass doesnt mix with VR. They basically would be offering games on gamepass that many users wouldn’t be able to use. Xbox Series X USB ports are low speed. They would need some wonky breakout box like PSVR1.
 

Romulus

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I commend microsoft for not investing in a stupid fad technology. They don’t chase gimmicks like Sony does, not since kinect ; just compare the two company’s controllers.

Even though MS QC on their controller is way worse they don’t add stupid crap like light bars, sixaxis, touchpad etc. Or a big brother mic in the controller either :/


In its first year, quest 2 outsold every xbox console. Its pushing ps2 numbers.

And lol @ the guy saying fb gave up on VR. Good grief you "vr is dead" guys are a broken boomer record.
 

ZehDon

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For me, Microsoft studios need to support the AUD$750.00 console I've already purchased and prove that they can deliver industry leading titles, not try and sell me another AUD$750.00 piece of kit on more promises. Sony can afford to support their VR because their deep stable of talent has proven it can do it. Xbox doesn't have that kind of luxury yet.

With that said, I think Microsoft needs to get third party headset support. Ideally, Quest 2 - most because I already own one, but also because its affordable and extremely popular. If they could figure out the business side of things, it feels like an easy win for both. Microsoft can put Xbox's foot in the VR space through a low risk partnership, and Oculus gets to sell more headsets and software.