Xbox isn't bringing its virtual reality plans to E3


Xbox VR won’t happen in 2017

Whatever Microsoft has up its sleeve for E3, it allegedly won’t include a virtual reality headset. Despite being the logical time to launch this sort of initiative, it seems as if Xbox’s take on VR will be pushed into 2018 or beyond.

According to a report from Polygon, VR just simply isn’t what Xbox is focused on right now. Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman said “Our primary focus is making our mixed reality experiences a success on Windows 10 PCs.We believe that right now a Windows PC is the best platform for mixed reality as its open ecosystem and enormous installed base offer the best opportunity for developers, and Windows offers the most choices for consumers.”

It seems that a major reason for this is because Microsoft doesn’t want to release a VR headset for consoles that isn’t wireless. Kipman commented “Given the efforts we have underway on Windows for mixed reality, and our belief that console VR should be wireless, right now we are focused on developing mixed reality experiences for the PC, not on the console.”

In the relative long-term, that means we likely won’t see Xbox VR until at least 2018, if not later. At a minimum, that’s probably a full two years after the technology launched on PC. But, more notable, that’s more than a year after PlayStation VR released.

In the short-term, where does that leave Scorpio in 2017? By all accounts, it looks as if Microsoft’s E3 press conference will be heavily centered around the new souped-up Xbox. The Scorpio is said to be the “most powerful console ever” in that it should be able to deliver native 4K resolution, and higher and more stable frame rates.

That’s certainly a selling point, but it feels as if VR was the other major add. Now that’s postponed and Microsoft will ask consumers to buy a machine this holiday with promises that it can do VR stuff sometime in the future. That will certainly diminish its immediate appeal for some people.

This is mostly conjecture for now, albeit conjecture that’s rooted in logic. Microsoft has a lot to clear up about the Scorpio. We’ll have a much better idea of Xbox’s direction after this Sunday’s press conference.

Don’t expect Xbox VR to be at E3 this year, or in stores this holiday [Polygon]