Microsoft had a really big reveal last E3 2017 as it finally gave everyone a look at the upgraded version of the Xbox One. The console is a powerhouse to say the least and it’s capable of a lot of things. Oddly enough, Microsoft is still holding back on their very own VR for the console. Microsoft’s unwillingness to create Xbox VR could also be holding back the popularity of VR gaming.
In an interview with Road To VR, Spencer states, “I love what we’re all try to go to. Actually the teams share a lot of learning—we’ve had the Sony team up, they’ve seen what we’re doing with HoloLens, we talk to the Valve guys all the time.”
He adds that it’s better to work on the blossoming VR tech along with other developers instead of competing with each other. ” I don’t think this is a time for us to be competitive in this space,” he said.
When it comes to whether or not the Xbox One X is prepared for VR, Spencer acknowledges that the console is more than ready for it. Since the Xbox One X is ready for VR tech, Microsoft could help immensely in boosting the popularity of VR.
Sony’s PSVR has sold a ton of units but when looking at the bigger numbers, the VR headset didn’t do so well when looking at the total owners of PlayStation 4. As announced by Sony in a press release, the PSVR has sold 915,000 units worldwide as of February 19, 2017. However, the figure is less than a 2% attach rate to the 53+million units of the PlayStation 4 sold.
If Microsoft does release the Xbox VR, it could have a lower attach rate than the PSVR due to its lower install base. With the $500 tag price of the Xbox One X, we can’t expect consumers to spend that much for both the console and the possible VR venture. However, this at least gives the VR tech more exposure. Another VR platform means more possible VR users.
More exposure also means that the developers of VR titles have more platform options to choose from. This gives the developers more room for revenue as they’ll have a wider audience to cater to. More profit then leads to more budget room for VR title creators, thus giving them the chance to create better VR games.
VR game developers are barely making money with their titles as of the moment and that’s after three major VR devices are already out in the market. Eerie Bear Game’s Joe Radak shares that they lose more money than what they earn when creating a VR title. The best way for VR game developers to make money, as per Rocketwerk’s Dean Hall, is from platform exclusive titles.
While platform exclusives are always a bother for gamers on other platforms, we can’t blame VR developers for getting into exclusivity deals with the VR manufacturers because they do need to make a profit somehow. Microsoft releasing Xbox VR in the future would give the VR developers another outlet for their titles which again, is going to benefit their future titles.
All these things considered, an Xbox VR headset could mean good news not only for Microsoft but also for the blossoming VR tech. We do understand why Spencer and the rest of Microsoft is holding back on VR for the Xbox as competition is one of the last things that VR needs right now. However, the tech could still use a helping hand and with another VR device from Sony’s rival console, the tech would have a wider audience to reach out to.
Unknowingly, Microsoft might be holding back the boom of VR’s popularity. The tech isn’t exactly dying for now but at the slow rate of its rising popularity, VR gaming might not be able to surpass handheld or console gaming at all.