The fight for next-gen dominance has already started.
Though on the consumer side of the fence, we’re seeing the end of the Xbox One and PS4 generation play out quite calmly – with Sony set to release high-profile titles like The Last of Us 2, Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima – things could be about to get turbulent as we head into the next hardware generation.
For example, we could be expecting quite significant hardware changes as we move into the new generation – we already know that Sony is planning some hefty PSVR revisions with PSVR 2.
But is Microsoft planning to rival Sony and its hardware with Xbox Scarlett? There have been conflicting reports.
Last week, for example, a new developer interview emerged that seemed to suggest that Microsoft will continue to snub VR as a component in its next-gen plans.
Pablo Lafora, game designer at Tessera Studios – the team behind upcoming PSVR horror title Intruders: Hide and Seek – suggested Microsoft continues to ignore VR, even though developers are now eyeing up future platforms for development of their upcoming titles.
“No matter how much I ask, I never get any news on Microsoft VR,” Lafora explained to GamingBolt.
“Just some rumors about HoloLens 2. It seems like they don’t have much interest in VR. On one hand, it looks like right now they won’t include VR features on their next console.
“On the other hand… that sounds really risky. Maybe the next Xbox will be HoloLens 2 compatible? It might be, but we don’t think the console/marketing will make HoloLens the core of it all.”
But then, in a new interview this week, also over at GamingBolt, another developer theorises that Microsoft could be playing the waiting game, instead.
“I mentioned my interest in Xbox VR earlier, but I trust Microsoft is simply playing a waiting game,” said John Torkington, co-creator of the VR puzzle adventure title Xing: The Land Beyond.
“Current gen VR really is first gen, and despite Facebook, Valve, and Sony’s efforts, there are still a lot of technical challenges to overcome,” he explained.
“I imagine Microsoft’s engineers are taking a good look at the current offering and researching how to do it better. I hope they come up with something great, and in turn inspire the other companies to compete.”
“I think we’ll continue to see a split for VR and non-VR titles, at least until VR has the fidelity to compete with a television,” he said.
“I do think VR will play a bigger role in the next generation, especially because (presumably) it will be around at the beginning, not halfway through. A VR solution may sway consumers one way or another.”
He makes a good point – the split nature of VR platforms means its still a fairly inaccessible area for developers and the public right now… and hopefully if Microsoft move into the market, we’ll see the tech become more available, and we’ll see more investment in games, too.