The head of Xbox has again expressed his belief in the long-term prospects of VR, but also stressed that consoles aren’t yet the ideal home for it.
Speaking on Giant Bomb‘s E3 livestream, as reported by Polygon, Phil Spencer said: Long term, I’m a big believer in the category. In the family room environment, we’re probably a few years away from it being able to really work.
We’re saying let’s stay more on the PC where we are seeing action and developer interest until we really get the art form of what it means to create great MR (Mixed Reality) experiences, and then it can go to more places.”
Spencer twice referred to the problem of the cord that still tether high-end headsets to a PC or console, and also argued that the huge groundswell of hype and support that was thrown into VR last year could prove to be detrimental.
Everybody has to be VR, VR, VR, and then a couple of people get their hands burned and everyone runs away,” he argued. I think we have to moderate the temperature a bit around where we are and not tell people this is the year of VR. Then when it doesn’t happen you get failure of VR, but it’s neither one of those things.”
The comments come despite Sony’s recent confirmation of 1m PlayStation VR headset sales, although with 60m PS4s now in consumer hands that represents a pretty low attach rate. Saying that, PSVR software has started to make its presence felt on the market, with Sony’s Farpoint setting a new VR UK chart record last month when it debuted at No.2 in the All Formats Top 40.
Spencer’s public enthusiasm for VR dates back some years now, although repeated rumours that Microsoft was preparing an Xbox VR headset have proven unfounded. That’s not to say that the company is not involved in the field – just last month it announced its own new mixed reality controllers that are designed to be compatible with the upcoming range of Windows-friendly VR headsets.