Spencer: We’re Not Focused on 1st Party VR Device; Many HW Manufacturers To Be Enabled for Scorpio
As predicted by rumors, Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer announced the Xbox One Scorpio yesterday. This new console is targeting hardcore console gamers directly, with a much stronger performance output (over 6TF versus 1.32 of the current Xbox One) that will allow 4K gaming as well as high-end VR.
As for this latter part, many were betting on a partnership with Oculus VR to bring the Oculus Rift on board with the Scorpio project, perhaps even in an exclusive fashion. After all, Microsoft is already bundling an Xbox One controller with the Oculus Rift.
However, in an interview with Wired Spencer said that Microsoft hopes to "enable many hardware manufacturers to make progress there", thus opening the door to HTC Vive and potentially more VR devices. That's because apparently Microsoft is "not focused on an first party VR hardware device right now".
He also credited the PC platform as the best place for innovation in Virtual Reality; he hopes to bring some of it to the Xbox Scorpio.
The best place for VR innovation is the PC. I think developers should still go focus on the PC, because I think that’s a great place to innovate. What we’re doing… is we’re able to take some of the PC innovation that we see… and bring it to the console space, to enable those magical experiences on Scorpio when it launches.
Earlier in the interview, Spencer mentioned that the Xbox team asked developers what it would take to have the same fidelity of Doom or Fallout 4 in VR and they replied with the 6TF performance target. This corroborates what we've always thought: current consoles, including PlayStation 4, are simply not powerful enough to deliver compelling VR and that's why most PS VR games have relatively simple graphics so far.
Of course, with the PlayStation 4 Neo and Xbox One Scorpio the outlook will be much different.