Microsoft Learned From the Kinect, Moved Away From VR Games This Year


Virtual reality content is still working to find it’s a comfortable spot in gamers’ homes, but while players are slowly warming up to the new gaming tech, Microsoft isn’t keen on diving into the field for now.

VR seems to be pretty hit or miss with consumers, often swaying towards a “miss.” It’s expensive to get started in, often costing as much as a new console for just the VR headset, and the games can occasionally feel gimmicky, a quick turn-off for prospective players. But when Microsoft considered exploring the VR realm, Microsoft’s senior director of product management, Albert Penello, told Wired that they had several past experiences to look back on that helped them decide not to pursue VR much this year.

“There’s still a tonne of experimentation in VR,” Penello stated. “That’s not designed to be a backhanded statement. There are obviously consumer products. Moving the problem into the display of your goggles versus the limits of the TV was a result of some of the 3D TV challenges. But VR has so much potential. Is it a viable consumer product? For a certain size of audience.”

Though Penello said that there’s certainly a potential with VR content when considering what consumers want, he looked back on two different innovative gaming options – the Kinect and the Wii – to illustrate Microsoft’s reasoning for being hesitant to move further into VR this year.

“We learned with Kinect and the Wii that just translating a typical game experience to VR is not a winning strategy. It’s the oddball VR-specific stuff that makes it sing. It wasn’t something we wanted to distract developers with this year.”

However, the wording used makes it seem as though they still plan on initiating more VR content for the Xbox One. Those looking to buy the Xbox One X can expect more VR games as well since it’s been confirmed that the new console will also support VR, so it’s clear that Microsoft isn’t finished with VR just yet. They’ve got plenty to manage with the release of the Xbox One X next month though, so it makes sense to take a break and focus on the hard-hitting release.