A recent report from IGN Italy alleges that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S might be getting a virtual reality headset, owing to unexpected text in the newest update for the console.
In the announcement for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, it wouldn't have been outside the realm of the imagination to assume that the company would include virtual reality this time round. However, Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer was clear that this side of gaming is not an area of focus for the newest generation of the machine. "Obviously VR is big on Windows today. We are the Windows company, and we're never going to close our eyes to where things are going," said Spencer in an interview last year. "I hope it gets bigger. I hope it's something that's just so important that there would be a no-brainer for us to support it."
Arguably, Xbox is often late to the party on these sorts of things - Microsoft didn't consider building a console until Nintendo and PlayStation were already on their second iteration of interactive and virtual entertainment products. So, although Spencer was reticent to confirm that the feature would be on its way, perhaps things are moving and shaking in that direction at Microsoft. The evidence? The text that was added to the console's system with the update for the new wireless headset.
IGN Italy claims that when a USB-C / USB-A cable is connected between the headset and the Xbox Series X, a message from the operating system pops up that reads: "The VR headset needs to be updated." It isn't a typo, either. The virtual reality headset is mentioned again in the subsequent message about the cable connection and on the button to install the update: "An update for the VR headset is available" and "Update VR headset."
Odd. If we then take these discoveries and combine them with the references to "Scarlett VR" in the code for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, this begins to paint a picture of a company that is interested in linking the two spheres of gaming together. Now, it's possible that "Scarlett VR" is simply a remnant of a previous project that didn't get off the ground. Spencer has stated that "the most precious resource that we have is the team and their ability," and Xbox isn't going to assign them to something that won't work. What's more is that console VR users are a teeny tiny slice of the entire demographic - of the 106 million PlayStation 4 consoles sold across the globe, less than 5% of players own a PSVR headset.
But... Microsoft could be the one to buck the trend. As the company is yet to acknowledge the report, we'll have to take it with a grain of salt. We'll keep you posted, though.
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