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Xbox Chief Phil Spencer Reveals His VR Strategy – And Boy, Is It Cynical

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:33 PM
Thomas Bardwell
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:33 PM
  • Phil Spencer said Xbox isn’t interested in virtual reality – at least not right now.
  • He also revealed when Xbox would consider making a VR play.
  • He made the comments on a Gamertag Radio podcast.

Xbox head Phil Spencer has once again confirmed that Xbox currently has no interest in exploring virtual reality as it exists today.

Xbox Still Has No Interest in Virtual Reality

In a podcast published today, Gamertag Radio asked Spencer to clarify Xbox’s stance on VR  following negative comments last year.

In March 2019, Spencer told Stevivor :

I have some issues with VR — it’s isolating, and I think of games as a communal, kind of together experience. We’re responding to what our customers are asking for, and nobody’s asking for VR.

Almost a year on, the head executive of Microsoft’s Xbox division is sticking to the same stance. Albeit with a more conciliatory tone.

Spencer explained that his aim wasn’t to disparage those invested in developing tech and games, but rather to make it clear to Xbox customers that VR wasn’t on the cards.

Spencer reiterated that there are no plans to integrate VR into the Xbox ecosystem now or even following the launch of the Xbox Series X. The company’s focus is elsewhere and VR “isn’t part of the equation right now.”

Spencer concluded:

We’re never going to close our eyes to where things are going. I don’t hope it goes away; I hope it gets bigger. I hope it’s something that’s just so important that it’d be a no brainer for us to go support it.

Why Spencer Is Watching from the Sidelines

Phil Spencer Says Xbox Won't Explore VR Until Its Too Big to Ignore
Why waste time figuring out if VR has a future when you can let your competitors do it for you? | Source: Half-Life: Alyx/Valve 

While this last comment leaves the door open for VR adoption further down the line, it reveals a shrewd – if a little cynical – strategy on Xbox’s part.

Xbox appears happy to let Sony, Valve, and others invest time and resources into VR with an eye on jumping on the bandwagon once VR is too big to ignore.

If and when this happens remains a hotly debated topic. But Xbox’s position is clear: It isn’t willing to take a gamble on VR while it remains a niche interest among gamers.

All eyes are now on Valve’s upcoming Half-Life: Alyx and whether it can be the catalyst to push VR into the mainstream.