The head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, Phil Spencer, has been talking about all things Xbox Scorpio of late. Specifically, he’s been discussing the future of Xbox consoles and the possibility of virtual reality.
Xbox Scorpio iterations
Less than two weeks from now; the world will wake up with the PS4 Pro on sale. Along with this new Sony super-powered console will come the dawn of the iterative console. Well, that’s how Sony sees it.
In contrast, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer doesn’t believe this is the road that the XBox Scorpio will go down. In a recent interview with Game Informer, he said that a successor to the Scorpio will not be around anytime soon:
Third Point's Dan Loeb discusses their new positions in a letter to investor reviewed by ValueWalk. Stay tuned for more coverage. Loeb notes some new purchases as follows: Third Point’s investment in Grab is an excellent example of our ability to “lifecycle invest” by being a thought and financial partner from growth capital stages to Read More
“I don’t have this desire to every two years have a new console on the shelf. That’s not part of the console business model, and it doesn’t help us. The best customer I have is somebody who buys the original Xbox and just buys all the games. That’s the best customer for us in terms of the pure financials of it. I’m not trying to turn consoles into the graphics card market.”
From his statement, it’s clear to see that the Xbox team has an altogether different strategy than Sony, which is something that has many console gamers feeling happy. After all, who wants to have to update their console every 12 to 24 months?
In contrast to this position, Andrew House, head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, has apparently pitted the PS4 Pro against gaming PCs in the hope that it will keep the console from losing users to high-end gaming computers.
What’s coming after Scorpio?
The Xbox team is already considering what it will produce after the Xbox Scorpio. However, no one has an answer for what that will be. Instead, all Phil Spencer could say was:
“We’re looking at consumer trends and what the right performance spec and the price would be, and [asking ourselves], ‘Can we hit something that has a meaningful performance characteristic that a gamer would care about?'”
Xbox Scorpio and VR
Perhaps the hottest topic in gaming right now is virtual reality, and with Sony having the PSVR already on sale, Xbox Scorpio hopefuls are asking whether the Xbox Scorpio will have its own VR headset. Spencer also shared his thoughts on VR. As an owner of all three of the current major headsets, the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PSVR, he’s not completely sold on the idea right now.
He told Stevivor:
“I don’t think the creators in the game space have yet found – well, they haven’t obviously perfected the craft of building VR games. It’s so early; we’re a couple of years before we’ll see that hit mainstream. Virtual Reality will find its spot in gaming; I would make that bet.”
Support for virtual reality
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the Xbox Scorpio, calling it the most powerful console ever. One small detail which many missed was that the device would support VR, but it’s not yet clear what that support entails or which headset will be supported, such as whether it will be Microsoft device or one made by a third party. It’s details such as these that fans want to hear.
In a round-about answer to this question, it’s clear that Microsoft/Xbox is undecided about the future of VR. Spencer said:
“What experiences do you put in people’s hands to have a long-term engagement? Most of these things I’m playing now feel like demos and experiments, which I actually think it’s absolutely the right thing to have happened. That’s not a criticism at all, but should be happening. But I believe that it will take time.”
So it seems that the Xbox will give VR some time to see how the current crop of devices being sold and what developers produce.
All of the current VR headsets that work with a PC or console require a tether, which is a large cable attached to the rear of the headset and connected to the PC or console. Spencer suggested that these cumbersome technologies need to be overcome before the technology can indeed take off.
“Whether people are going to put something on their head, I think, is actually a legitimate question. They’re definitely not going to walk around in a shielded environment with a cord at scale. However, that’s absolutely where VR has to be today.”
So will the Xbox Scorpio have its own VR headset? It appears that for now, the answer is no. However, you should expect that to change if the technology takes off. As for VR in general, Microsoft has formed partnerships with Dell and HP for Windows 10 headsets.