An Xbox console message prompt has pointed towards potential future VR support, via the new Xbox Wireless Headset.
That’s according to a report from IGN Italy, which claims that when it plugged in the pre-release review version of the peripheral, its console displayed a message stating that, “The VR headset needs to be updated”.
The publication claims that the reference does not appear to be a mistake, as references to a “VR headset” are repeated in a further message stating that, “an update for the VR headset is available” and a prompt to “update [the] VR headset”.
UPDATE: An Xbox spokesperson has told VGC that “the copy in this error message is inaccurate due to a localization bug,” adding: “VR for console is not a focus for us at this time.”
ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES: The Xbox Wireless Headset is officially on sale from today, but so far no other users appear to have reported seeing the VR references. It’s possible that the message could be a mistake, but we’ve contacted Microsoft for clarification.
Speaking in February last year, ahead of the launch of Xbox Series X/S, Microsoft’s gaming boss stated that the platform had no plans to support VR devices with the console.
Months prior, Phil Spencer attracted criticism with comments he made about virtual reality, which some perceived as being dismissive of the technology. He called VR a relatively niche and “isolating” format that doesn’t fit with his vision of gaming as a “communal” pastime.
The Xbox head later clarified his comments, stating that he ‘loves’ that the games industry is pioneering in different fields, but that VR “is just not our focus.”
Speaking in a February 2020 interview with Gamertag Radio, Spencer claimed he meant no disrespect to any fans or developers of VR games, but reiterated that Xbox has no plans to enter the space.
“There are a lot of people I know that are working on some good VR titles – great VR titles – and I’m not trying to be not supportive of that,” he said.
“My main point was, I wanted to be clear with our customers on where our focus was. So that if somebody was waiting for us to bring out a VR headset for Series X, at the launch or something… we’re not going to do that.
“I understand that certain people would want that. We have to focus our efforts on the things that we’re doing right now and the most precious resource that we have is the team and their ability, and I have to focus on the things that we’re doing right now.”
He continued: “VR is not just as simple as plugging the headset in: you have to re-do the Dash… there’s a bunch of work that goes into it and the teams at Valve, Sony and Oculus that are doing that work, they know the completeness and what it means to support that platform.”
Spencer added that as “the Windows company,” Microsoft is “never going to close our eyes to where things are going.”
“I don’t hope [VR] goes away: I hope it gets bigger,” he said. “I hope it’s something that’s so important that it would be a no-brainer for us to go support it.”