One would think that the fact that Microsoft is readying an augmented reality device as powerful as the HoloLens would light a fire under gamers who are expecting to eventually be able to utilize the headset for Xbox One gaming. While this may in fact be true in the long run, the short term implications of Microsoft’s focus on the HoloLens could be a less than ideal gaming situation for current Xbox One owners.
While those who own a Playstation 4 are already getting excited about Sony’s release of their compatible PS VR headset come October for under $400, Xbox One console owners are being left in the dark when it comes to the company’s virtual reality gaming ambitions. Could Microsoft actually be working on a VR headset that’s compatible with the Xbox One, while spending hundreds of millions of dollars on R&D for their HoloLens augmented reality headset? It’s possible, but in our opinion, unlikely. With E3 2016 kicking off in just over seven weeks, an event, which if Microsoft were to announce a VR headset, would likely be the place, there have been absolutely no leaks of such intentions.
So what is Microsoft’s plan then? Are they going to allow Sony to garner an even larger share of the console gaming market, as gamers turn to the Playstation 4 for their VR needs? One would think that at the very earliest, with the absence of a new Microsoft VR headset, that gaming which can be compared to that offered by the PS VR would have to wait until late 2017. With Sony close to selling 40 million PS4 consoles already, and Microsoft’s Xbox One sales falling shy of 20 million units thus far, it seems as if the Playstation 4 will easily walk away the winner within the console gaming space. This is bad news for those who own an Xbox One, as developers are investing heavily into the creation of virtual reality content, all the while budgets for traditional games are bound to be cut.
One has to wonder if the HoloLens is holding back Microsoft’s gaming ambitions. While a VR headset, coming from the companis still possible, it seems more likely that they are putting all their AR/VR eggs into the HoloLens basket, and those eggs will not be hatching until later next year. In the meantime Xbox gamers are left in limbo, questioning if they should perhaps purchase a Playstation 4 or simply hold out and wait to see what, if anything, Microsoft will offer within the VR space. If you are Sony right now you have to be bullish on your sales prospects, as Nintendo won’t have a device ready by the Holidays, and besides the costly Oculus Rift and HTC Vive they will be the only high-quality VR gaming experience available come the Holiday season.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s gaming ambitions? Let us know in the Microsoft Xbox VR forum on VRTalk.com.