Back in June, Microsoft revealed that it had no plans to produce a first-party virtual reality headset to rival those such as Sony’s PSVR, Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. It seems that it did at one time, however, as a report from CNET claimed that Microsoft had actually been working on one for the Xbox One.
CNET’s report reveals that Microsoft had enlisted the help of other companies to help it enter the VR market back in 2012, and manufacture a device that Xbox owners could use. The design of the headset is unknown, but sources close to Microsoft allegedly said that the specifications for the headset’s screen were good enough. The screen quality was said to pale in comparison to its market rivals though, and saw Microsoft shelve those plans for the foreseeable future.
Microsoft is thought to be waiting on a breakthrough concerning wireless headsets instead, with the current market’s options all pedaling VR headsets that must be physically attached to consoles and computers. That prevents players from moving about freely, and a breakthrough in this area would give gamers a more engaging experience. Wireless headsets will likely be more costly to manufacture and cost consumers more to purchase them. Microsoft would need to ensure that there is a big enough demand to push forward with their own VR headset then, and given the current climate there isn’t a huge draw to own a VR headset at home.
Sony has shipped around 3m PSVR units since the product launched in 2016, according to the company’s own statistics, while the Oculus – owned by social media giant Facebook – has failed to capture the hearts and minds of less hardcore gamers. Microsoft were leading the chase to enter a partnership with Oculus in 2015, but those plans were thwarted by Facebook’s intervention. Microsoft has since moved on to develop mixed reality headsets such as its interesting-looking HoloLens project, which it showed off at E3 2015.