Despite the PSVR 2 winning critical acclaim, Xbox won’t be diving into virtual or augmented reality gaming any time soon.
That’s because the head of Xbox Game Studio Matt Booty has explained that the scale with VR isn't there yet for Xbox (or Microsoft) to create dedicated games or hardware for.
“We have 10 games that have achieved over 10 million players life-to-date, which is a pretty big accomplishment, but that’s the kind of scale that we need to see success for the game and it’s just, it’s not quite there yet with AR, VR,” Booty said an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Such a comment comes at a time when the PSVR 2 is set to outsell the original PSVR headset, and has a slew of games planned for it, as well as the Meta Quest 2 having reportedly sold in excess of 14 million units and the Quest 3 set to launch this fall.
Added to the mix is Apple’s Vision Pro headset, which blends AR and VR (not that Apple used those terms at WWDC 2023, preferring to coin the term “Spatial Computing”), which could energize interest in virtual and augmented reality.
But Booty noted that Xbox feels it needs to “wait until there’s an audience there.” Given Xbox hasn't shipped as many Xbox Series X and Series S consoles as Sony has the PS5, it would arguably be on the back foot when it comes to pushing VR hardware to an install base.
Does VR matter for Xbox?
While I’d like to see some form of smart VR hardware from Xbox, especially if it taps into Microsoft's HoloLens tech, I’m convinced a dedicated Xbox VR headset would be a game-changer for the Xbox.
As I’ve observed before, in this console generation, PlayStation appears to be more about pure gaming experiences, while Microsoft seems to be less about console gaming and more about letting everyone play the best Xbox Series X games wherever and whenever. Introducing more hardware into the mix, such as VR headset, would partially muddy the waters with what Xbox as a brand appears to be all about.
Furthermore, Microsoft has done a lot on the Windows side to support VR. And while PC-based VR isn’t as easy as using a PS5 and PSVR 2, it’s still a fine option to immerse yourself in VR gaming if you have one of the best VR headsets paired with one of the best gaming PCs or best gaming laptops.
So as much as an Xbox HoloLens would be cool, I think Xbox might be wise to stay out of the VR/AR waters for now and focus on what it does best, providing Xbox games for everyone.