Early last year at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) held in San Francisco, Microsoft announced that its mixed reality development kits, in partnership with Acer, would start shipping later in March 2017. The Redmond giant also took the opportunity to confirm that "the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio", now the Xbox One X, would pick up support for mixed reality experiences in 2018. The company would later clarify that this statement did indeed include the Xbox One and Xbox One S.
Now, it appears that those plans are now well and truly scuppered. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Mike Nichols ruled out the existence of any mixed reality initiatives for its consoles and said:
"We don't have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality. Our perspective on it has been and continues to be that the PC is probably the best platform for more immersive VR and MR. As an open platform, it just allows faster, more rapid iteration. There are plenty of companies investing in it in the hardware side and the content side, or some combination therein.
Obviously on phones, augmented reality is a good scenario as well that's going to grow. But as it relates to Xbox, no. Our focus is primarily on experiences you would play on your TV, and ultimately we'd like to make those experiences more broadly."
With numerous Windows Mixed Reality headsets from the likes of Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung now on the market after their initial announcement last year, Microsoft did attempt to grease the wheels in the PC segment with discounts of up to $200 last Christmas. Meanwhile, HoloLens has been somewhat more anemic and only recently picked up a feature update a few months ago, its first since the Windows 10 Anniversary Update released back in August 2016.
Of course, time will tell if Microsoft will change its mind with respect to mixed reality on Xbox One. However, after having culled the production of Kinect late last year and memories of the console pricing backlash that led to the unbundling of the motion-tracking peripheral, it could be a case of once bitten, twice shy.