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Microsoft won’t be demonstrating Xbox VR at E3 as it shifts focus to wireless headsets

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Windows Mixed Reality headsets
Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge

Microsoft has said before that it plans to support mixed reality headsets on Xbox One and the upcoming Project Scorpio console in 2018, but the company won’t even be teasing its VR plans at E3 this year. In an interview with Polygon, Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman says Microsoft is focused solely on mixed reality for Windows 10 PCs at the moment.

“We believe that right now a Windows PC is the best platform for mixed reality as its open ecosystem and enormous installed base offer the best opportunity for developers, and Windows offers the most choices for consumers,” explains Kipman. “Windows has been the birthplace of a variety of technologies, and we believe this will hold for mixed reality too. Given the efforts we have underway on Windows for mixed reality, and our belief that console VR should be wireless, right now we are focused on developing mixed reality experiences for the PC, not on the console.”

Kipman’s hint of a wireless headset for Xbox console gaming suggests that Microsoft is holding off on bringing its planned mixed reality headsets to its gaming console. Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus, and Acer are all planning to release mixed reality devices later this year, but these all need to be tethered to a Windows 10 PC. When Microsoft first unveiled Project Scorpio, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said the console would be “built with the hardware capabilities to support the high-end VR that you see happening in the PC space today.” Microsoft’s mixed messages don’t provide much hope for VR on Xbox any time soon, and the company refused to clarify to Polygon whether its plans for wireless headsets would impact the 2018 promise for mixed reality headsets on Xbox One.