During Microsoft’s big Xbox Spring Showcase 2016, Phil Spencer announced that not only was Minecraft available to play using the Oculus Rift and Windows 10, but that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was on-hand to ask questions. This of course raised several questions regarding Microsoft’s commitment to supporting VR and, in particular, how Xbox fits into that equation. We spoke to head of Xbox Phil Spencer about what this relationship that Microsoft has forged with Oculus means for Xbox.
It was previously announced that Oculus Rift owners would be able to play games on Xbox One in a virtual reality theater-like setting, but that nothing else beyond that was on the horizon in terms of functionality for the console. Spencer confirmed to us that is still the plan.
“We’re not really focused right now on adding a VR device to Xbox One,” he says. “We’re really more focused on the open ecosystem of Windows. We see Oculus and HTC and Valve and other people doing great work on Windows and we’re supportive of that. We want all of these devices to run incredibly well. We’re watching how VR evolves. We’re participating – we have Minecraft and other things that we’re working on in the VR space and with HoloLens as well. Specifically on Xbox One, we’re not really focused on bringing a device to that platform.”
In addition, Spencer mentioned that he is interested in PlayStation VR. “I applaud Sony for what they’re doing,” he says. “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. We continue to focus on HoloLens and the work that we’re doing there. All that been said, it’s a cool space to watch because there’s so much innovation going on in gaming around there that it’s kind of proud to be a part of the industry.”
When we posed the question to Luckey about whether more features could be on the way to Xbox One by way of Oculus, he wan’t quite as verbose. Luckey simply laughed and said nothing more than, “Maybe?”
The response isn’t surprising, given that Microsoft is in a unique position to benefit from virtual reality through the PC space while watching how PlayStation VR is received in the console space before making any commitments. Still, Spencer seems adamant that this won’t be happening anytime soon, so even if PS VR is a big success right out of the gate, I wouldn’t expect Microsoft to follow suit particularly soon.