Virtual reality has slowly been integrated into homes around the world, with various headsets being made available for different types of consumers. Although its popularity isn’t as ubiquitous as something like the PS4 (which has surpassed 100 million units sold), the technology is being used, as clearly evidenced by the 4.2 million PSVR units that have made their way into consumers’ homes. But head of Xbox Phil Spencer doesn’t think this data is enough to warrant focusing on VR. He gave his stance on the technology by saying “nobody’s asking for VR.” This seemingly generated a response from former President of SIE Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida, who defended the platform and the work Sony’s put into VR.
In an interview with Stevivor, Spencer made it clear that Microsoft would not be focusing on VR, at least not any time soon. He explained:
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.
I think we might get there [eventually]. But yeah, that’s not where our focus is.
After Spencer’s quote was published, the now Head of Independent Developer Initiative at SIE, Shuhei Yoshida, took to Twitter:
（´-`）.｡oO（we oftentimes work hard to make things that no customers are asking for them）
— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) November 26, 2019
Yoshida doesn’t specifically mention Spencer by name, but one can infer what he’s talking about. And Shu has made his support for VR clear, as demonstrated by his passion for the platform. In response to his tweet, much of the community praised PlayStation for its focus on innovation, citing games like Astro Bot Rescue Mission as a “must-play” VR game.
Immediately after his initial statement, Spencer elaborated by saying “yeah, I don’t love my quote there because I’m not trying to demean the work that people are doing in VR.”
As Sony doubles down on PSVR (and presumably another fantastic lineup of games) for its next system, Microsoft seems to be going in a different direction as it focuses largely on putting the Xbox ecosystem on the cloud.