Sony’s winning with its console VR solution.
The first wave of virtual reality is now upon us; in the high-end PC space, in the mobile space, and – with PlayStation VR – in the console space. VR is for the enthusiast at the moment. It still has a long way to go, but it’s established itself as the most immersive way to play video games by far. It’s not going to take over and become the norm, but it’s not going to die, either. It’s like motion controls; just a new and great way to engage with our games.
Sony had the benefit of watching HTC and Oculus as they stumbled through the launches of their respective VR units, which for most are too expensive – especially considering the limitations this early in the game. PlayStation VR represents a great middle-ground. It’s a cheaper VR solution that can work with any of the 40+ million PS4s out there. Shortly after launch, things are looking really good.
SCEE president Jim Ryan painted an optimistic picture in a recent interview on CNBC. “We know from the data we have from pre-orders that the interest we have is significant,” he said, affirming that, at launch, he expects sales to be in the “many hundreds of thousands.” With the holiday season looming, Sony plans to ramp up production as well in order to meet demand. “We have made decisions to further increase capacity at the back end of 2016 and into 2017, so there are going to be a lot of PlayStation VRs around the world, whether that’s enough to satisfy the demands of the market, we’ll see.”
I believe that the major advances we see in VR in the next year or two will be made first on PlayStation VR. Sony is positioned to provide and analyze the data from millions of users playing games in VR for the first time. What works, and what doesn’t? Which genres lend themselves to VR most appealingly? What other forms of media will gamers be willing to pay for and consume? Sony will be conducting that research very soon, and making a killing all the while.