VR not a focus of Project Scarlett, says Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer has confirmed that VR is not a focus of the upcoming next-gen Project Scarlett.

Stevivor used an interview with Spencer at X019 to get an update on Microsoft’s stance on virtual reality (VR). Back in Sydney in 2016, Spencer told us that VR would come to Xbox One X (then Project Scorpio) when it didn’t feel like “demos and experiments.”

“Yeah,” he said with a frown. “I don’t love my quote there because I’m not trying to demean the work that people are doing in VR.”

Nevertheless, Spencer said customers don’t associate Xbox with VR, nor do they expect it from the brand.

Sony’s PlayStation VR

“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,” Spencer said. “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.”

Spencer admitted that some of the decision was based on cold hard cash, as “nobody’s selling millions and millions” of VR units.

“I think we might get there [eventually],” Spencer concluded. “But yeah, that’s not where our focus is.”

Stay tuned to Stevivor for more from Phil Spencer at X019 in the days to come.

Steve Wright attended X019 in London, England as a guest of Microsoft. Travel and accomodation were supplied by Microsoft.

This article may contain affiliate links, meaning we could earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. Stevivor is an independent outlet and our journalism is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative.

About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.


Click here to post a comment

  • With all the backtracking and reneging Phil has made with VR and other gaming aspects over the years it’s a wonder why anyone would regard his positions as anything other than PR based on the direction the board leans.

  • Yet VR has amazing social features as proven by PSVR and being able to view AND play along with the VR user.

    And, liar, Sony have literally sold millions and millions of PSVR headsets, more than all other VR headset sales put together lol, about 5 million by now and waaaay more than Xbonex consoles have been sold.

    And there lies the problem. If Scarlett only manages to sell 5 million units in 2 years by 2023, of COURSE VR will never be feasible or work, just like it isn’t possible on Xbonex, even 2 years later after launch, because of its tiny install base.

    • The PSVR Sold units so what? The Wii sold to the more then what the 360 and PS3 sold and the Wii was put aside in house holds that bought it so your sales argument holds no value. Even the PSVR attach rate is below 4% and is more evidence that back Spencer’s claim.

      I like my Vive and will love it. But I can see that at this time fully investing in VR isn’t viable and even Sony knows that when they haven’t made any big games for it and only smaller ones like Astro bot and Everybodies Golf. As they know it’s still too risky.

      Best you go back to your usual sites Andrew and crawl around there. No one here is going to spoil you with your obbession and obnoxiousness here for a war here.

  • Huge mistake to sleep on console VR this gen. Yes, the install base is small now but growing steadily and this will snowball as more compelling content becomes available. Having PC VR has already killed several genres of games on a flat screen for me. (Mainly racing games and shooters – just cannot go back to flat.) I can’t believe Microsoft dropped the ball with VR so badly – having the Windows Mixed Reality headsets work (at least on Xbox One X and up) would make them an attractive option for people who game on both console and PC. They are giving up such huge ground to Sony on console and Oculus and Valve in the PC space.

    VR is disruptive I personally still use the Xbox for couch co-op games and media apps, otherwise it’s a minecraft box for my kids, almost all of my gaming time is spent in VR. I bitched for years that I wanted a good single player Star Wars shooter and now that it’s here I didn’t bite because I know I’ll ignore it in favor of VR games, like the last few big AAA traditional games I splashed out for.

    Don’t sleep MS.

  • For what it is…currently VR seems to be doing as per expectations and has potential, or else no company would be investing time and money on improving the VR tech, upgrading headsets, making more games etc if it is bringing losses.

  • People are asking for VR… just not from those who can’t demonstrate it in a fashion/format that makes sense to them. Been to the MS Store multiple times to try out the VR and each time it has been a clusterfu of a sales pitch form me to go somewhere else to get VR.

    Think about that for a minute. Microsoft store sales people telling me to go elsewhere for VR…

    What I’m hearing is “we can’t figure out how to do it so no one must want it.”

  • lmao sloppy Stevey thought his shill interview after another joke X0 would bail out his cult leader but all it need is expose how hard he lied in 2016. What a shame.