Why wouldn’t Microsoft consider making their own VR headset? Everyone else is already producing their own hardware for virtual reality, so why wouldn’t Microsoft make one for the Xbox One, Project Scorpio and Windows 10 on PC?
Well, Microsoft has been burned quite a few times by previous innovations in gaming.
- Motion gaming with Kinect
- TV DVR in Xbox One
- 3D gaming
- Xbox 360 HD-DVD
Motion gaming turned out to be a fad, the Xbox One TV DVR was a failure, 3-D gaming went nowhere, and the HD format war, well you know how that turned out.
So how can you really blame Microsoft for being so cautious when it comes to virtual reality? While everyone else was quick to rush in, Microsoft seems to have mostly exercised patience.
PlayStation VR’s success may be the push Microsoft needs
When it comes to new technology in gaming, it’s a very expensive gamble, especially if it fails. Remember Steam Machines? Because most people have totally forgot about it. And there were so many companies that jumped on that bandwagon.
The same can be said about Virtual Reality. And even though VR is in its infancy, it’s not turning out to be a mainstream hit. There are a lot of companies betting on VR to take off:
Facebook/Oculus VR, Google, Nvidia, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, AMD, Qualcomm, Amazon, Siemens, Intel and many more have either created hardware, software or filed patents pertaining to virtual reality.
Now it’s great and all that so many companies are backing VR because so many of us want it to succeed. But honestly, it seems that the only true hope for VR at this point is in the hands of Sony. With the PlayStation VR possibly becoming a success, you better believe Phil Spencer is paying close attention to what will happen.
In an interview Spencer had gone on to say:
I applaud Sony for what they’re doing. I’m curious to see how it does when it comes out and how VR in the living room connected to my console and my TV works. And that’s not a shot, I’m really curious to see how that works.
You can easily come to the conclusion that Microsoft is patiently waiting to see how PSVR does. Sony has a huge opportunity on their hands due to the success of PS4. And they can be the sole reason VR takes off because when it comes to technology, it’s their specialty.
Remember, Sony was solely responsible for the success of Blu-ray due to every PS3 having a built-in Blu-ray player. Now, it’s a similar situation where Sony has designed an affordable and quality VR headset that works with over 40 million PS4 consoles.
Plus, let’s not forget Sony makes incredible first party games. And there are currently 230 developers making games for the PSVR. With 50 PSVR games/experiences expected to launch between the October release date and the end of 2016.
If anyone can make virtual reality mainstream, it’s definitely Sony. And Microsoft would be missing out on a huge opportunity if VR suddenly took off.
Microsoft is already very much involved with virtual reality
Let’s take a quick look at how VR’s potential and success could benefit so many:
- VR will create a lot of jobs
- Changes the way we game
- VR tours for national parks
- Help produce new millionaires and billionaires
- Changes the way we use the internet
- Can help train Medical Students
- Allows people to travel to places without leaving home
- Can help treat PTSD
- VR business and personal communications
- Can help treat Anxiety Attacks
- Will help people plan for a vacation
- VR tours for people looking for a new home
Microsoft would also be at a huge disadvantage if they waited too long to produce VR hardware. While Microsoft would still be developing and finalizing their technology, other companies could already be selling their second generation versions of their VR headset.
When it comes to the VR space, Microsoft is definitely involved at some level. It is clear they are taking the approach of watching how virtual reality evolves while also participating in its growth. And let’s not forget that Microsoft still has HoloLens.
Microsoft has definitely put themselves in a position where they could easily go all in with VR. Gartner analyst Brian Blau says, “The market for VR headsets is just getting started and if Microsoft wanted to enter the market this year or next year, it would not be too late.”
Project Scorpio is already VR capable
The one huge indicator to Microsoft teetering on the edge of committing to VR fully is Project Scorpio. Microsoft’s newest gaming hardware will mark the first time the company will have a VR ready gaming console.
In an interview, Aaron Greenberg talked about VR on Project Scorpio.
Now, with the power and capabilities we have, we’ll be able to do high-fidelity VR. Now, that space, we don’t think of that as console gaming, we think of that as high-fidelity VR, and so the VR experiences those will be new things you will get on Project Scorpio.
Microsoft is well aware that Xbox One owners don’t want to be left out of the VR trend. But they are taking a very cautious approach as they believe that the market is already starting to oversaturate before VR has even proven itself.
As we said before, there are a lot of companies that have created or a preparing to launch VR hardware. And with Project Scorpio, Microsoft is able to take advantage of offering VR without taking too much risk.
Project Scorpio can run the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets, offer VR gaming, 4k gaming, and maybe other experiences we have yet to know about. If VR doesn’t pan out, then at least the investment was too great.
But if VR takes off, well, Phil Spencer had this to say:
Would we ever do our own VR device? We could, if we thought we had something unique to add.
Do you really think Microsoft can’t come up with something unique to add to VR? Do you really think they don’t already have a roadmap in place for VR if it takes off at some point?
When it comes to virtual reality, Microsoft already has one foot in the door. It might not be much longer before Microsoft announces their own VR headset.
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