With the PSVR2 launching earlier this year, Apple announcing its Vision Pro and Meta revealing its Quest 3, it seems all the cool kids are getting on the VR train. Microsoft, however, isn't bothered about an Xbox equivalent. I think they're right.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, head of Xbox Games Studios Matt Booty claimed that the market for VR and AR is "not quite there yet." and that Xbox will likely "wait until there's an audience there."
Having got my hands on a PSVR2 about six weeks ago, I was buzzing to dive into a whole new world of gaming experiences, but after some initial fun, it's been sitting unused for some time now.
Don't get me wrong, the technology is amazing, but the problem (aside from the prohibitive cost) is the lack of good games to choose from and the form they all seem to take. I've tried a host of PSVR2 games now and aside from Horizon: Call of the Mountain I would say that the best titles on offer all fall into the same genre of game, rhythm or rhythm action.
Beatsaber (a five-year-old game that still gets rolled out for new headsets), Pistol Whip and Drums Rock are my most played VR games and all are rhythm-based titles that, to be honest, aren't going to sell systems on their own. Until we can get AAA games to work in VR (fully featured) and without nausea, it will always be a niche market.
Most VR games are on rails or involve little movement, likely to prevent motion sickness, but also because we haven't really solved it yet. Movement in something like Horizon: Call of the Mountain (the closest comparison we have to traditional action-adventure titles) is awkward, with the player having to pump their arms up and down and then flick the joystick left and right when stationary to turn like a tank. Other titles opt for a teleporting approach, but neither really makes for convincing gameplay. Once we do get the likes of Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto playable, and with online multiplayer, in VR then it could explode, but for now, there are great conventional games coming out that are more worthy of your time.
If you can't make the game you want to, and with the PSVR2's sales indicating there's not a massive audience there, Xbox's stance makes all kinds of sense.