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Why XBOX Failed the VR Generation

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Source wikimedia.org

Today VR is on the cover of every magazine, and it is the topic of every techie article with headlines screaming, “VR tool transforms how we design cars,” “VR gives us a glimpse of the future of work,” “Is VR the future of fitness?”, and the big one, “Can VR become a billion-user platform?”  Well, it already is a billion-dollar platform, so why not?

Every arena is going virtual, from sports to video and casino games to education.  You can even virtually join live tournaments for everything from War Thunder to Texas Hold’em Poker or its variants.  Every major company has jumped on board, from Google to Sony PlayStation — every company but Microsoft, that is.

Source: wikimedia.org

With Facebook purchasing and advancing the Oculus Rift and Sony developing PlayStation VR, it seemed inevitable that XBOX would develop its own VR headset. When Microsoft initially announced Project Scorpio, most assumed that Microsoft was joining the VR world, and the fact that they were developing virtual reality for Windows 10 made it almost a given that XBOX would follow suit.

June’s E3 2017 convention spoke quite the opposite. Microsoft’s presentation of Xbox One X as the most advanced game console on the planet made headlines, but with no support for virtual reality (VR) headsets or games, it ignored a platform that video gamers truly desire. Microsoft’s response was that “Despite the huge enthusiasm for VR and rapidly growing audience for the medium, it’s not going to sell consoles in the same way as a new Assassin’s Creed title or Forza Motorsport 7.” Additionally, they were quite vague when asked if dedicated VR devices to use with the Xbox One X consoles would be available in the future.

Source: Flickr.com

When questioned directly about the XBOX and VR, Head of Department Phil Spencer stated, “Long term, I’m a big believer in the category…  I think you can deliver a feeling, whether it’s vertigo or a new sense of space or environment, and that’s just incredible. I can’t wait to see as it comes to mass market games what developers and creators are able to do. My view is [that] we’re a few years away from it being something that will really work.”

Instead Microsoft focused on the possibilities pertaining to their recent Direct Reality trademark patent.  Spencer outlined what Direct Reality was and what it could lead to. The function would be like Microsoft’s DirectX APIs, which helps software programmers develop software that integrates with a range of VR headsets, just as DirectX helps VR work with different graphics processors. Basically, when XBOX does move to VR, they don’t want to be restricted to the use of just one headset or platform. This news was hopeful.

For now, however, Microsoft has removed all mentions of virtual reality from their XBOX One X web page. So, while they have released an amazing new machine and some really incredible games, VR fans will just have to wait.

TXH
TXH
TXH loves nothing more than kicking back at the end of the day, controller in hand, shooting the hell out of strangers via Xbox Live.

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