Microsoft Explains Why Project Scarlett Won’t Focus VR

Project Scarlett will be catering to a lot of premium demands but when it comes to virtual reality, users will need to tone down their expectations.

Speaking with Stevivor at the X019 fan event earlier in the month, Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox brand, stated that Project Scarlett will be all about satisfying the vast majority of the Microsoft customers. In that regard, the demand for a quality virtual reality experience is pretty slim. Hence, the next-generation Xbox successor will not be focusing on the virtual reality market.

Spencer also noted that the Xbox brand is not generally associated with virtual reality. Anyone interested in purchasing a headset knows well where to go. Microsoft might eventually pursue virtual reality down the road but for the time being, Project Scarlett should primarily be seen as a machine that runs next-generation games in the best way possible.

While not downplaying developers and publishers, Spencer commented that “nobody’s selling millions and millions” of virtual reality units. Hence, Microsoft sees little reason in jumping the gun with Project Scarlett.

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.

Project Scarlett was designed for various other purposes as well outside of the base gaming experience. That includes evolving Project xCloud, which is currently being powered by current-generation Xbox One consoles. However, in the near future, Microsoft will be turning to Project Scarlett instead to power its cloud gaming streaming service.

In another interview, Aaron Greenberg, general marketing manager of Microsoft and Xbox, stated that Project Scarlett will not suffer from any frames-per-second concerns. The next-generation console has been touted to run games in 4K resolution with ease, a claim that many critics feel will eventually be watered down, meaning that expecting 60 frames-per-second in 4K resolution is still a large asking. Should Project Scarlett manage to achieve that in most of its first-party games, Microsoft will have raised the bar to a new height for competitor Sony and PlayStation 5.

Project Scarlett will debut in the holiday season of 2020. Microsoft should be getting ready for a massive real in the coming months.