Xbox Co-Founder Skeptical of Virtual Reality Headsets

Published 11 months ago by

Xbox Cofounder Skeptical of VR

There’s an equal amount of excitement and skepticism surrounding the premise of Virtual Reality, but there’s little question that it’s a subject on many industry professionals’ minds. After Facebook picked up Oculus VR for a cool $2 billion, and Sony unveiled its PlayStation equivalent to consumers, it’s become obvious that there’s going to be a big push for the technology going forward. It appears that not everyone is so eager to get behind the prospect of Virtual Reality quite yet though.

One prominent figure in the gaming industry has just such a stance on VR, and expressed his concerns with the tech during a recent ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Yabbly. Known for co-founding the Xbox branch of Microsoft, Ed Fries isn’t a name that many gamers take lightly in the industry, so when he has an opinion about new tech people tend to listen. While Fries hasn’t been employed by Microsoft since leaving the company in 2004, he didn’t shy away from his thoughts on Oculus or the technology in general.

“Hardcore gamers love new technologies and experiences and are willing to do almost anything to get them, so that’s a good market for Oculus. General users however are a different crowd. Given how little success the consumer electronics companies have had with 3D TVs with glasses, I am sceptical that general users are going to be strapping this thing onto their face any time soon.”

“After watching 3D TV fail so spectacularly the last few years, I’m a bit of a skeptic about VR, at least for the broad consumer market, but for hardcore gamers, who knows? Maybe it will work and bring some amazing new experiences.”

Despite Fries’ uncertainty in the peripheral, there hasn’t been any sign that his former employer, Microsoft, plans on being left in the virtual dust — recently purchasing augmented reality assets for $150 million. What the house of Bill Gates has in store for the future of VR technology on PC or Xbox One remains to be seen, but Sony may have forced its rival’s hand after revealing Morpheus for PlayStation. Even Pachter agrees that Sony’s forthcoming peripheral is a bad idea, however, which only backs up Fries’ hypothesis.

It’s hard to tell which way Virtual Reality headsets will go, not even the co-founder of Xbox can say with absolute conviction, but it’s a tantalizing venue that many investors in the modern market appear eager to explore. Now, whether that translates to actual sales remains to be seen.

Do you think VR will appeal to the masses and become a success? Is it technology that first needs to be refined before commercialized? Let us know in the comments.


Follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle.

Source: Yabbly (via CVG)

TAGS: Microsoft, Oculus Rift, Xbox


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  1. I am also skeptical about this.

    I am willing to give it a try though, assuming it isn’t cost prohibitive.

  2. Although I’m definitely interested in VR, I think he’s right. It’s very promising, but has yet to prove itself as something that would change the playing field. I fear it will now be buried under the gold rush. VR is no longer in the hands of enthusiasts that would develop it to the point of being mainstream ready. The big guys have it, and it’s now being modeled into a profit machine. The more it get forced on us, the less appealing it will be.

  3. one thing i am afriad it will turn into …. a Tv screen that is on yer face

    • I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind a TV screen on my face.

  4. In my opinion Mr. Fries is really selling the Oculus VR and other headsets short here. Aside from the obvious correlation of wearable tech, there is a BIG difference between an immersive experience of being placed into a game world or sitting court side at a game through VR, and the gimmicky 3D glasses that make stuff on your TV have a small sense of depth. Apples and oranges.

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