Culture 3 min read

Can PlayStation VR use PS4's Mass Appeal?

Tinxi |

Tinxi |

Sony has just launched its PlayStation VR, and in hopes of competing with HTC’s Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the PSVR will be compatible with all PlayStation 4 models.

Compared to the competition, the headset’s price is much more reasonable, and the PS4 may give Sony a head start. But, will PSVR suffer the same fate as other VRs whose sales seem to be drying up

As the Vive and Oculus Rift approached release earlier this year, there was eager anticipation for the arrival of commercial virtual reality devices. Almost immediately, though, sales flat lined.

Initially, HTC had problems keeping enough stock.

Once the supply issues were resolved and sales still didn’t rise, consumers pointed to high costs as what was keeping them away from virtual reality: the Rift comes in at $700 USD, and the Vive at $899 USD.

Furthermore, consumers lamented a lack of quality games for these systems.

Meanwhile, PlayStation VR pushed back the device’s release until Q4 2016.

PlayStation VR Does all it can to Reach Consumers

In the months before and after release, Sony Interactive Entertainment demonstrated VR experience for over 300,000 visitors of participating Best Buy and Gamestop stores.

During those demonstrations, Sony highlighted a better library of VR games, a better price ($399) for the VR headset, and compatibility with all models of the PS4.

“A TV commercial, a website, an app — nothing can begin to get you to understand exactly what the majesty of VR can be unless you try it yourself,” says CEO Shawn Layden says.

With millions of PS4 units already a part of living rooms around the world, Sony may indeed have built in demand for their VR experience, and maybe even a shortcut into the VR market. The company hopes to reach a broader audience than the competition.

However, most people who registered for and participated in the Sony VR demonstrations did not own a PS4. Rather, they were just generally interested in VR.

‘A TV commercial, a website, an app –nothing can begin to get you to understand exactly what the majesty of VR can be unless you try it yourself.’

Will the PlayStation VR Have Mass Appeal?

HTC and Facebook’s VR struggles suggest Sony will have a hard time encouraging an already stagnating market to grow, let alone cutting into it.

Sony may not be concerned, however, as Layden claims that his company is already turning a profit on the VR headsets.

Regardless of what analysts might say about the future of VR, Sony isn’t shying away from it.

Layden says is excited about what 2017 holds for the VR market –  even if 2016 spelled caution for Sony’s competitors.


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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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