Microsoft explained why it won’t be discussing virtual reality gaming during its E3 2017 press conference. The highly anticipated event is set to feature huge announcements and reveals about Xbox Project Scorpio and games like Crackdown 3.
Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman has said that the company’s “primary focus is making our mixed reality experiences a success on Windows 10 PCs.” Kipman revealed that Microsoft thinks that Windows PC is the “best” platform for these type of experiences right now due to its open ecosystem and “enormous” install base which offer the “best opportunity for developers.”
Additionally, Kipman said that Microsoft believes that console VR should be wireless and that the company is “focused on developing mixed reality experiences for the PC, not on the console.”
Microsoft has already laid out its PC mixed reality plans quite clearly. The company has revealed several $299 VR headsets for Windows 10, which are being made in partnership with companies like Dell, HP and Acer and are targeting PC users. Meanwhile, there’s also its augmented reality headset HoloLens which could potentially let users use any surface they feel like as a space to watch television shows, play Minecraft and use Skype – at least according to promotional concept videos.
While the PS4 virtual reality headset, PS VR, has sold one million units, the Sony tech was able to do that with a much larger amount of potential buyers. Almost 60 million PS4s have been sold around the globe and although Microsoft has not released official Xbox One sales numbers in quite some time, analyst estimates suggest that it has sold around 26 million units in comparison. As such, Microsoft may not have the same shot at success if it released a VR headset specifically for its console.
And on wireless VR headsets, it’s unclear when these will become an affordable reality either. The HTC Vive headset is available in a wireless version, but the wireless component and the headset cost over $1,000 altogether. Throw in the price of the Xbox One console on top of that and prospective Xbox One VR players are looking at a hefty chunk of change. Microsoft has previously said that Project Scorpio can support high-end VR headsets though, so even if it doesn’t have any announcements planned for this year’s E3, it may well have something in store for future shows.