XBOX has always been at the FRONT of innovation; Xbox dominated Sony in the console war, introduced cloud gaming and redefined console hardware. But in the VR landscape WHERE. IS. XBOX?
According to a report, VR gaming is expected to reach $44.5 billion by 2027. Sony the biggest competitor of Xbox has also launched their next generation of VR headset; the PSVR 2.
Does XBOX have a master plan and they’re just bluffing that they are not interested in VR?
Let’s start with the beginning…
XBOX’S History With VR
Xbox began exploring the AR/VR industry 8 years ago when they first teased AR footage of HALO at E3 2015. But after that, they went silent—radio silent. No news, nothing about AR or VR.
Many Xbox fans and consumers were asking, “Where is the Xbox VR headset, and why Xbox Series X doesn’t support VR?“
Phil Spencer answered, “There are no plans for creating VR hardware, and also, VR is too niche for Xbox to enter.”.
For this statement, he received a lot of hate because, at the Xbox X conference, he stated that “High-Fidelity VR” was their focus when creating Xbox Series X. Everyone felt betrayed when he said that VR is not their focus now.
And… Sony Stricked When The Iron Was Hot
After that statement, Xbox fans had only two choices: Go over to Sony if they wanted AAA quality VR titles or just curse Microsoft. Some of them did, and some of them switched to PlayStation VR.
But There Was Another Player In The VR Market
Despite selling a record-breaking 5 million PSVR units, Sony couldn’t breathe peacefully because they still had to beat their biggest competitor in the VR market: META.
Meta launched their brand-new Meta Quest in May 2019; 3 years after PSVR, which shook the entire VR industry. Meta gave us something that we’ve only dreamed of; A standalone VR headset.
And what do you know, VR was everywhere. Meta sold more than 20 Million Quest 1 units; 4 times the “record-breaking” PSVR units.
Still, There Was One Problem (For Meta)
Meta had everything; games, userbase, industry-defining headset but there was just one problem: A Big One.
Meta lacked software and an ecosystem that kept users coming back for more.
They needed to find something so magnetically strong that could pull VR and non-VR users into its ecosystem. And that’s where the Xbox and Meta partnership comes into play.
THE COLLAB; Hardware Meets Software
The genius move by Meta and Xbox to capture and dominate the VR industry, and Meta Quest 3 could be Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s PSVR 2.
Microsoft has always been a “software company that makes hardware devices“.
So, Meta can become the headset seller (hardware), and Microsoft can become the software seller; providing integration to their multitude of services (software).
But what does this partnership mean to you, to me, to us collectively as a community?
If Xbox fully partners up with Meta, then Quest 3 could become the most value-driven headset in the VR industry.
For just $500, we can get a:
- Full-blown standalone Mixed Reality headset.
- That can be turned into a PCVR headset.
- And The possibility of playing AAA console games on a 100-inch screen without the need for a PC or any wires (Xbox Game Pass)
Making it a win-win for everyone; be it Meta, Microsoft, and consumers.
- Microsoft can test the waters before entirely entering into the VR industry.
- Meta can take a massive upper hand against their competitors, bringing in more users than ever before.
- And consumers can get a bang for their buck.
Also, Meta’s shift from VR to MR can open up a huge number of possibilities by integrating the Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem.
It is the perfect collaboration. And integrating Xbox’s Game Pass is just the first step.
More On The “Horizon” (sorry for the pun)
The partnership between Microsoft and Meta will go beyond gaming.
Microsoft is heavily investing in the XR industry, and according to a leaked document, they stated that the “Metaverse is going to be the future.”
There’s also a possibility that Xbox might make its IPs like Halo, Forza Horizon, and Fable into VR (fingers crossed).
The future of VR is looking tremendous.
Microsoft isn’t releasing its own VR headset, but the Meta Quest 3 is the next best thing.
Until then, stay strong, VR Army!