The Sony PlayStation might be getting a lot of flak lately over its Fortnite cross-play snub, but PS fans can now gloat over the Xbox rivals over one aspect. The PlayStation has its own VR system and, if things continue as they are now, the Xbox won’t. Microsoft is now practically going back on its own marketing that plays up the Xbox One X as being capable of “high-fidelity VR”. And beneath its reason is the simple fact that it doesn’t foresee making money out of console VR.
Virtual reality, at least the non-mobile kind, definitely requires a lot of power to run, hence the high minimum requirements for PCs. That is exactly the reason behind the half-step updates that are the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. Now it seems that only one of those two has gotten that VR promise.
Microsoft’s reason for changing its mind, somewhat quietly compared to its big Xbox One X splash, is that it now believes that the PC is the best platform for virtual reality and mixed reality. Never mind that it designed the Xbox One X supposedly for that purpose or that it prepared its Windows Mixed Reality platform to be usable on it as well. PC trumps console, in this case.
There is some truth to that, unfortunately for console lovers. On the technical side, iterating over PC hardware and software is faster, especially when you need to make quick upgrades. In comparison, the Xbox One X, the most significant upgrade since the first Xbox One, was launched 4 years after the original.
But what Microsoft isn’t saying outright is that there is no business to be made in console VR. Not only are there too few games and apps for it, something the PS VR can attest to, even fewer companies are investing in it outside of gaming. Companies interested in using virtual or mixed reality are unlikely to buy Xbox One X console just for that and Microsoft will profit more from PC, Windows 10, and headset sales than selling Xbox Ones.