Last month, there were reports of patent documents from Microsoft hinting at some new technology from their gaming division. The illustrations included showcase what might be future add-ons to what could be the Xbox Scarlett. Among the images shown, there appears to be a new Kinect sensor, a special mat, and a person wearing a VR headset and holding two wireless controllers. This led gamers to speculate that a new virtual reality system for the next-generation console could be in the works. Unfortunately, Xbox Chief Phil Spencer recently confirmed that there are no plans to include the feature.
Industry analysts think VR gaming is still more of a niche market that has not seen huge growth since it became mainstream. So far, most premium VR headsets available right now are exclusively compatible with PCs. This is due to the fact that it needs more processing power for the visuals, positional tracking, and other related functions.
So far, the PlayStation 4 is the only home console that offers a VR experience with the PSVR headset. Meanwhile, the way Spencer sees it, the tech is not currently being developed for Xbox Scarlett. According to GameSpot, he believes virtual reality still has room to grow as a technology, but now is not the time for Microsoft to focus its resources into developing for the Xbox Scarlett.
"I have some issues with VR—it's isolating and I think games as a communal, kind of experience," said the head of Xbox. "We're responding to what our customers are asking for and... nobody's asking for VR," he added.
Spencer likewise pointed out that gamers who want to experience VR normally get in on PC. It looks like Microsoft is going back on its original plans when it hinted that the Xbox One X is VR-ready in 2016. The following year, the product page no longer indicated that it supports the technology.
It seems that other market research analysts agree with his views on VR. In contrast, gamers are expecting Sony to release an upgrade to the PlayStation VR that will take advantage of the PS5's upgraded processing power. On the other hand, the Xbox Scarlett might have a new motion-tracking accessory instead.