Will Microsoft ever create an Xbox VR headset? It’s a query that is been on everybody’s lips because the launch of Sony’s PSVR, however up to now the Redmond-based firm has been reluctant to enter the sphere of digital actuality.
However, with the Meta Quest 2 (previously generally known as Oculus Quest 2) changing into essentially the most accessible and among the best VR headsets available on the market, and Sony doubling down on its dedication to digital actuality with the PSVR 2 – its next-generation VR headset for the PS5 – it is clear that VR is not a passing fad.
In reality, you may argue that VR gaming has by no means been extra well-liked, which has inevitably led to hypothesis over whether or not or not Microsoft can even be part of the race by supporting the tech on Xbox Series X and even Xbox Series S. After all, the one factor extra spectacular than seeing Microsoft Flight Simulator working on a console would have the opportunity to play it utilizing an Xbox VR headset.
Microsoft already has expertise within the VR market, too, with its HoloLens combined actuality headsets. It’s not too troublesome to think about the concept of Microsoft permitting performance with Xbox Series X/S consoles as a substitute of making a proprietary headset only for the console like Sony has finished with PSVR. However, on the extremely steep value of $3,500 for the HoloLens 2, the wi-fi headset merely is not at a consumer-friendly value level to be possible, not to point out as a combined actuality headset, it isn’t designed to totally immerse you in VR .
Still, may Microsoft be gearing up to make its personal reasonably priced gaming-first shopper VR headset for Xbox Series X/S? Below, we have rounded up all the data and rumors on the matter and whether or not enjoying Halo Infinite in VR may change into actuality within the close to future.
Microsoft’s historical past with VR
While Microsoft hasn’t formally introduced that its making a VR headset for Xbox consoles, it is nonetheless been concerned with the know-how in numerous methods. The Kinect made for Xbox 360 used RGB cameras and infrared detectors for motion-sensing inputs with no controller, which it additionally (albeit unsuccessfully) added to Xbox One. It may need been possible for that know-how to be applied with VR in the identical means Sony tailored its PlayStation Move controllers and the PlayStation Camera for its unique PSVR headset.
Microsoft has additionally collaborated with Valve and HP in designing the HP Reverb G2 VR headset, and it additionally launched its personal combined actuality headset, the HoloLens, though the latter is astonishingly costly, with HoloLens 2 beginning at $3,500, making it unviable for shopper gaming . It’s not even designed to totally immerse you in digital actuality, both, as it is a mixed-reality expertise that depends closely on AR: augmented actuality.
However, it was additionally reported final month that Microsoft has scrapped the event of HoloLens 3, leaving its future dedication to VR doubtful. On the opposite hand, with a higher curiosity in shopper VR and the metaverse (one thing talked about as a part of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $67.4 billion), it may be that the corporate is altering route, with the intent of creating a extra reasonably priced consumer-friendly VR headset somewhat than the expensive HoloLens which have up to now been targeted on enterprise use, together with business contracts with the US military.
If this was the pivot although, it would not clarify why it is had hassle retaining specialist workers. LinkedIn profiles present at the least 25 Microsoft mixed-reality workers left for Meta in 2021, together with a number of multi-decade veterans.
Should VR come to Xbox Series X/S?
The VR gaming market could also be small in contrast to consoles, with Sony’s PSVR having offered by way of simply 5 million items as of January 2020 (in contrast to the over 110 million PS4 items offered in its lifetime), however it’s nonetheless rising. The Meta Quest 2 (or Oculus Quest 2) has been gaining extra floor as a wi-fi and self-contained headset that may nonetheless be plugged right into a extra highly effective PC to play video games like Half-Life: Alyx.
With Sony planning to launch PSVR 2 in late 2022 or early 2023, there is a sense that Microsoft won’t need to miss out on this rising market by creating its personal consumer-friendly headset. The potential to rework the experiences of its video games may be enormous. Imagine simply how extra immersive Microsoft Flight Simulator can be when you’re proper within the cockpit searching over actually wherever on the earth.
We’ve seen the same impression with PSVR, although it was admittedly held again by its lower than spectacular technical specs. Nevertheless, it offered an much more sensible expertise in Gran Turismo Sport (and we hope that Gran Turismo 7 will get VR help for PSVR 2 when it arrives). There’s nonetheless quite a lot of untapped potential from this new console era, however Microsoft would need to act quick if it would not need to be left behind when it comes to digital actuality.
Why you should not count on VR for Xbox Series X/S
Yet, regardless of the potential of VR, the market does stay somewhat area of interest, and it is one which Microsoft could merely need to keep away from for such a probably small return.
In phrases of energy, there isn’t any doubt that Xbox can run VR video games. However, when broached on the subject, CEO of Gaming Phil Spencer’s most important considerations spotlight why the platformer holder is just not but prepared to deliver VR to its consoles.
In 2017, following the reveal of Xbox One X at E3, Spencer appeared in a Giant Bomb video the place he mentioned Xbox’s lack of VR. While he stated he was a “believer in the category”, he had reservations over its suitability in the lounge, particularly with the cords. This barrier could have been addressed through the years, with PSVR 2 requiring only one cable and casting off the need for an exterior digital camera, whereas the Meta Quest 2 is totally wi-fi but additionally one of many weaker headsets available on the market when it comes to processing energy.
While Spencer hasn’t dominated out Microsoft getting to the purpose the place it could be comfy with investing in VR for Xbox, it seems extra possible that Xbox house owners should not count on a devoted headset or third-party headset help anytime quickly, or at the least not till one other console era when hopefully pricing, viewers attain, and the issue of cables, have been totally resolved.
Can you use a VR headset with Xbox Series X/S?
Xbox Series X/S doesn’t formally help any VR headset. Although a message found by Italian Xbox customers in 2021 noticed a pop-up message indicating that “An update for the VR headset is available” when connecting an Xbox Wireless Headset, Microsoft has since quashed this rumor as a translation error. There can also be no Xbox software program that helps any VR modes at present.