John Carmack, former CTO of Oculus and key player in the VR startup’s genesis story, says Sony’s upcoming PSVR 2 headset may be see a bumpy road to adoption based on its high price and potential for scattershot geographic distribution.
Carmack seems to really like PSVR 2’s hardware from a technical standpoint, saying that the unique combination of a tethered OLED display and PS5’s ray-tracing performance could hypothetically allow for a novel VR rendering approach with extremely low latency. As a legendary programmer and the former CTO of Oculus, it’s just the sort of thing Carmack thinks about when it comes to virtual reality headsets.
And though he lauded that unique technical potential, Carmack says he actually doesn’t expect PSVR 2 to be “very successful at $600”:
I don’t expect PSVR2 to be very successful at $600, but technically, with a directly connected OLED display and decent ray tracing performance, it is an opportunity to implement just-in-time ray tracing for couple-millisecond 6DOF motion-to-photons latency, which I would really
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) January 26, 2023
Releasing on February 22nd, PSVR 2 carries a price tag of $550, which after sales tax puts it somewhere close to $600 out-the-door in most states. That’s a fair jump past Quest 2’s $400/$500 price tag, depending on whether you buy the 128GB or 256GB version.
Still, this doesn’t take into account the all-in price to actually play PSVR 2, which at $400 for the PS5 Digital Edition and $500 for Console with disc drive, puts it somewhere north of $1,000 for everything required. But what about Sony’s impressive global reach with PS5?
In a follow-up tweet, Carmack mentions that PS5’s admittedly large global footprint, now tallying 30 million consoles worldwide, isn’t nearly as important as having a higher concentration of devices spanning a smaller geographic area.
“Addressable market size matters much more to developers than global coverage. A 5M market size distributed across every country is much less attractive than a 10M market in a smaller set of countries. In fact, equal sized markets would favor fewer countries — less work.”
Carmack doesn’t appear to be playing favorites either; he similarly critiqued Meta Quest Pro recently for its “dubious price point,” something which has skewed Meta’s latest and greatest away from consumers and positioning the mixed reality headset more as a work productivity device.
Doubts about PSVR 2 seem to be mounting the in few weeks preceding its February launch. Public perception was recently injected with a heavy measure of uncertainty about its pre-order performance. A Bloomberg report earlier this week claimed Sony had slashed production forecasts of PSVR 2 by half to just one million units expected in the first quarter, something Sony has now refuted.
Looking to learn all about PSVR 2 before it launches this month? Check out our top articles covering games, hardware previews and more:
- Hands-on: Across-the-board Improvements Are Coming to Sony’s VR Headset
- Launch Day Games Revealed, 30+ Titles Including ‘Horizon’, ‘Resident Evil Village’ & ‘Gran Turismo 7’
- Every Game Getting a Free PSVR 2 Upgrade (so far)
- PSVR 2 Unlikely to Ever Work on PC, Says Creator Behind PSVR 1 Compatibility Driver