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Don't expect VR gaming on the Xbox Series X — that's a win for PS5

An Xbox Series X and Oculus VR headset
(Image credit: VGC)

Don’t expect an Xbox Series X virtual reality headset any time soon as Xbox’s top brass Phil Spencer has again confirmed his skepticism of the technology in a recent interview. Alternatively, Sony seems very committed to VR, which could give the PS5 an edge over Microsoft's console. 

Spencer has made some unfavorable comments about VR in the past. In 2019, he called the technology “isolating” and claimed that “nobody’s asking for VR” in the Xbox community, although he did slightly backtrack on these remarks later. However, a recent Wall Street Journal interview again confirms that VR isn’t seen as an area of interest for Xbox.

When quizzed on Xbox’s approach to VR, Spencer said: “We’re focused a lot more on the software side of that right now. When I think about immersive worlds and I think about the connection of a player and community, that’s something that’s very high on our investment list.

“I think that the hardware innovation that’s happening is great and it’s an important enabler, [but] right now I’m deciding to stay more in the software side of that enablement. I believe it will scale better in the long run."

However, Spencer was complimentary about Xbox’s gaming rival’s efforts in the space: “I applaud what Sony‘s doing, I applaud what Oculus is doing, what Valve has done. I mean, there’s a lot of good players out there that have done some amazing VR work. But yeah, we’re gonna stay as a company right now in the consumer space focused on software, and I think that’s a good bet."

It looks like any Xbox Series X owners hoping for some form of VR peripherals will need to reign in their expectations — and maybe buy a PS5 down the road. 

Xbox is leaving the VR crown to Sony without a fight 

A render image of the PSVR headset

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Xbox’s stance on VR is definitely not one mirrored by its biggest competitors. Sony has already confirmed that a follow-up to its PSVR headset will be launching next year for the PS5, the headset is tentatively called the NGVR (next-gen virtual reality). 

It’s clear that PlayStation continues to see VR as an area worth committing resources to. And Spencer once again ruling out an Xbox VR headset, leaves the runway clear for the PS5 to dominate the console VR space without any form of competition. 

VR gaming is arguably a niche area of the market, but as of January 2020, Sony’s PS4/PS5 compatible original PSVR headset has sold more than 5 million units with more than 22 million VR games also being sold. That’s a sizeable chunk of gamers that are willing to buy into the VR space. 

With its easier setup and more accurate tracking, via a new orb-like controller, Sony will likely be hoping to significantly grow its VR playerbase with the NGVR headset. It seems a little odd that Xbox doesn’t want its own piece of the pie. However, this reluctance to enter the market is definitely a win for Sony, giving the PS5 a selling point that the Xbox Series X can’t match. 

Of course, neither console really needs any additional selling points, both have been consistently out of stock since they launched last November. If you’re still looking to buy a next-gen console then make sure to check out our PS5 restock and Xbox Series X restock hubs for the latest stock update.  

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.