Yesterday, Facebook owned game hardware company Oculus announced that their VR (Virtual Reality) headset was available for pre-order and would be $599. This high price may come as a bit of a shock to many gamers. We are still unsure the cost each headset is to make, or the exact profit Oculus will make even though Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe has been quoted stating they will be making no money per unit sold. However, the focus now shifts to Sony and their PlayStation VR headset. Sony has been tightlipped about the price, only giving the statement, “we are treating it like a new console launch”. This answer has led many to believe the cost may be higher then we were expect, and with the announcement of Oculus Rift being $600 it seems we may be right. Fortunately, for gamers, all hope may not be lost. The following describes how PlayStation VR will dominate the Oculus Rift.
Sony may have been holding out on pricing PSVR for this precise moment. Much like what PlayStation did to Xbox during the new systems announcements leading into E3 2013. Sony waited until it seemed, Microsoft committed and announced a price point. This strategy is quite brilliant from a business standpoint and can only be good for the consumer in the sense that companies are trying to price products competitively.
Nevertheless, Sony will need to make sure of a few things prior to their announcement. Price is the most important factor. The perfect price for PSVR will be $250-$299. With most of the public never experiencing VR it is very difficult to sell this without physically trying the product. Sony is very aware of this. The first year on the market Sony is only predicting a humble one million units sold. This is a very large number in terms of game sales. However, in terms of hardware sales it is quite low. PlayStation has sold 35.9 million hardware units since Holiday 2015. That being said, one million units is just a small fraction of total systems in the world. The price can only be justified with the games that support PSVR. PlayStation Vita has proven that if game developers do not support the hardware it will have a short life span. If the same happens to VR it will unfortunately have a short life span as well. Sony will have to make every game, from VR exclusives, to standard games, VR compatible. Every game does not need VR integration however, every game will need to support VR headsets. What I mean by this is games such as Uncharted 4 will need to support the VR if at the very least as a screen. This not only adds value to VR it also adds substance to VR at launch by making most if not all games compatible.
All in all, Sony is in a very good spot with PSVR. It’s competition has laid down their cards and now it’s just a matter of if and when Sony can trump them. With past success and some hard learned failures, Sony has been proving that they know what gamers want. Now it is just a matter of whether or not they can keep up the great decisions. Only time will tell. E3 will likely be the venue to which Sony announces a price, release date, and launch line-up. I expect we will see some major games coming to the PSVR. June cannot get here soon enough. For more on the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and anything else virtual stay tuned to Mammoth Gamers and be sure to follow us on Twitter @Mammoth_Gamers.