While Microsoft has its own mixed reality AR headset with the HoloLens and more recent HoloLens 2, it nipped any ideas about a VR headset for its Xbox Series X console in the bud, with Xbox boss Phil Spencer stating unequivocally that "nobody’s asking for VR". But that was a couple of years ago, and it looks like opinions about what gamers want might be changing, with support for VR headsets apparently being considered.
Microsoft released its new wireless headset this week, retailing for $99 / £95 / $AU150, and it's going down well with gamers; but the setup process has revealed a surprise, with a reference to a VR headset popping up, along with prompts to update the hardware.
The message was spotted by IGN Italia and you can take a look at it in the tweet below. Once writer Giovanni Marrelli plugged in their new headphones, the system asked them to update their VR headset. Marrelli reports that this is more than just an error, adding that the following screen also makes reference to updating a VR headset, offering the option to initiate the update.
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IGN Italia reports that after plugging their new Xbox Wireless Headset into the console, the system asks them to update their VR headsethttps://t.co/y3riYFBO01 pic.twitter.com/fOAXVLeZ5XMarch 16, 2021
It would be a massive U-turn if Microsoft has decided to develop a VR headset to go up against the PS VR 2, which was officially announced last month alongside six new PlayStation VR games. Ever since the Kinect, which waged a motion control war with PlayStation Move, the Xbox has abandoned such peripherals, but if the company sees a renewed interest in the product, there's no reason why it would ignore the demand just to stick by something Spencer said in an interview two years ago.
More recently, Spencer shocked gamers with the news that the Microsoft Zenimax acquisition will mean that there will be some exclusive Bethesda titles for Xbox Series X after all, that won't come to other platforms like the PS5 and Nintendo Switch. This didn't go down well with everyone, but does show that Microsoft is ready to pivot to embrace opportunities for the Xbox brand that will help bolster the platform.
Whether it's developing its own VR headset, offering support for third-party hardware, or planning something with the rumored refreshed HoloLens, we don't know, but it seems like it has something up its sleeve, and Sony should be worried.
In the meantime, of you're still struggling to get hold of the next-gen console, you can follow T3's Xbox Series X stock tracker for updates on Xbox Series X restocks. If Sony's system takes your fancy, we have a PS5 stock tracker as well.