Two very interesting and diametrically opposed things happened this week in gaming. Firstly, some gamers plugged a VR headset into an Xbox Series X and it asked them to update it, a fact that got people to immediately ask Microsoft whether the next-gen Xbox consoles did in fact have support for VR headsets.
Unfortunately for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S gamers the world over, Microsoft was then very quick to once more double down on its earlier message that VR is something that "nobody is asking for", stating that the message was an error (opens in new tab) "due to a localization bug" and that "VR for console is not a focus for us".
And then, secondly, Sony officially unveiled the controller for its incoming PlayStation VR 2 gaming headset, which will be the direct successor to the original PlayStation VR.
If there wasn't already very firm battle lines drawn in the sand for the PS5 vs Xbox console war this generation then there certainly is now. Microsoft is telling Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S owners that they are not getting a VR platform on Xbox, while Sony is showing PS5 owners that they are getting a VR platform on PlayStation.
One company is going all-in on VR, developing a brand new second-generation VR headset to use with PlayStation 5, and the other is very clearly not.
This of course raises the question of which approach is the right one and, as T3 has noted before, it's hard not to see that, at least for gamers, Sony's is the more attractive. Sony is taking a big lead from the PS4 vs Xbox One generation into this console gen war, and seems to be looking to protect that lead by broadening its gaming offering in terms of accessories.
We now know that a PS VR 2 headset is coming, and there are also rumors that a PSP 5G could be incoming as well. Both these pieces of hardware look to be very much geared to be support accessories for PS5 that extend gameplay options for gamers, with the first offering VR gaming, and the second offering cloud gaming on the go. They extend how and when gamers can play games, and it's clear that from a gamer perspective that's a great thing.
Of course, from a financial point of view things aren't so clear, at least to those outside of Sony and Microsoft. It's clear that while VR is definitely a business and one that a lot of people want (you just have to look at how many VR headsets are on the market today such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive Cosmos to see that), compared to how many people just want to play games on a console the number is orders of magnitude smaller.
Most importantly, VR is also a costly venture to get into, and while Sony has already sunken that cost into it with the original PlayStation VR, Microsoft has not. It seems logical therefore that the company who was on the wrong side of the last console war to focus purely on getting its core competency strong, which is something it seems to be doing with moves like the acquisition of Bethesda.
And, as T3 has written, while dropping billions to lock games to Xbox isn't a good thing for all gamers, or arguably the industry itself, it does at least bolster Xbox's core offering this generation.
If it will be enough, though, in light of Sony's ability to not only attack Xbox with its PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition consoles, but also a PS VR 2 gaming headset and, maybe, even a PSP 5G handheld, remains to be seen. Here's hoping we hear more about the PS VR 2 soon, as it may very well be the decider for many gamers this gen when choosing which platform they are going to game on.
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