Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida has fired back at Head of Xbox Phil Spencer following his criticisms of VR. While virtual reality is steadily growing as a market segment, Phil Spencer seems to disagree that it’s important, and Shuhei Yoshida took the opportunity to fire back at Spencer’s comments on Twitter.
The tweet in question may well highlight Sony’s philosophy on developing new technology, focusing on creating something new whether or not there might necessarily be consumer demand for the product.
（´-`）.｡oO（we oftentimes work hard to make things that no customers are asking for them）
— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) November 26, 2019
The PSVR may well have been a gamble as, when it was first released, the current generation of virtual reality technology was still rather new. Despite these risks, it’s probably safe to call Sony’s crack at making a VR headset a success. It has sold more than 4 million units since its inception.
As impressive as that may be, there’s another number that’s important to note: that’s less than 5% of the entire PlayStation 4 install base. I think it’s safe to say that virtual reality gaming in the PlayStation ecosystem isn’t exactly niche, but it certainly isn’t a widespread phenomenon just yet, either.
Phil Spencer, for his part, stated that he had some issues with VR, considering it “isolating” and noting that sales of headsets just aren’t there yet. If you’re looking for a virtual reality experience, the Xbox ecosystem probably won’t be the place to get it.
“I have some issues with VR — it’s isolating and I think of games as a communal, kind of together experience. We’re responding to what our customers are asking for and… nobody’s asking for VR. The vast majority of our customers know if they want a VR experience, there’s places to go get those. We see the volumes of those on PC and other places.”
While Spencer has his reservations about virtual reality, he hasn’t entirely ruled it out for some point in the Xbox ecosystem’s future; it’s just that it isn’t going to be a particular focus for the next console generation.