Bad news for those who enjoy escaping the real world with ridiculous-looking headwear. Microsoft has reconfirmed — for the second time in four years — that it still isn’t interested in virtual reality for the Xbox.
The unsurprising but disappointing reveal for some reason came in The Hollywood Reporter, of all places. In an interview largely about crossovers between TV and gaming, Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty told the site that it’s still not happening.
“I think for us, it’s just a bit of wait until there’s an audience there,” he said. “We’re very fortunate that we have got these big IPs that have turned into ongoing franchises with big communities.
“We have ten games that have achieved over ten 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.”
If Microsoft wants to see VR games selling over ten million units apiece, then yes: there’s a long way to go.
Assuming a hypothetical Xbox VR headset wasn’t standalone like the Oculus Quest 2 and required an Xbox Series console to power it, then it would need nearly half of all owners to buy the headset to hit that number. And that assumes that the relatively underpowered Series S could even run virtual reality titles, as those figures combine S and X.
Given PSVR 2 costs almost as much as the console itself, that would be a big ask. Microsoft has probably also been somewhat burned by its experience with HoloLens, which it was once tipping as the next big thing.
As for PSVR 2, Bloomberg reports that it sold between 270,000 and 300,000 units in its first month — a figure that IDC thinks isn’t what Sony would be looking for.
“I suspect a price cut on the PSVR2 will be needed to avoid a complete disaster of their new product,” said the company’s vice president of data and analytics, Francisco Jeronimo.
To catch up with the original PSVR, Sony’s new headset will have to shift around five million units. And even if it does reach that kind of install base, it still needs to double it to reach the kind of numbers that would interest Microsoft.
In other words, Xboxers, if you want a virtual reality experience, you’re best off looking elsewhere.
Image: James Yarema / Unsplash