It’s been a long time coming, but PlayStation VR is finally here. As the least expensive option among the top three contenders, not to mention a 40+ million install base of PS4 owners, many think that PSVR could be the best selling VR headset of 2016. As far as search trends are concerned, consumers seem highly interested amid the headset’s launch.

Comparing search interest via Google Trends for “PlayStation VR”, “Oculus Rift”, and “HTC Vive”, we see some interesting activity over the last 12 months.

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While Oculus Rift pre-orders generated the most interest at any point within this timeframe, we can see that the launch itself generated less search activity. Both the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR did the reverse: there was slightly more search interest surrounding Vive’s launch than its pre-orders, and in the case of PlayStation VR, search interest has accelerated rapidly amid the headset’s launch, putting it far above current search interest for the Rift and the Vive, and far above the levels of search interest of the other two headsets at launch.

Sony Expects Early PSVR Sales to Reach "Many Hundreds of Thousands"

Now, before you jump to any conclusions, search interest doesn’t necessarily translate to sales or customer satisfaction. The most we can say from the available data is that PlayStation VR’s launch has generated greater search interest than the launch of the Rift or the Vive. Exactly why that’s the case takes us into the realm of speculation.

The most obvious variable to consider is marketing; before someone can search for a specific product, they have to know about it. And from what we’ve seen, Sony’s promotion of PlayStation VR’s launch has been suitably large, and has apparently exceeded what we saw of the marketing effort from Oculus and HTC/Valve during the launch of the Rift and Vive. Sony has run TV ads and even teamed up with Taco Bell to give away headsets.

Another variable to consider is Sony’s huge PS4 install base. Every one of its 40+ million consoles out there can power the PlayStation VR system. Meanwhile, a much smaller number of PC’s meet the minimum specifications for the Rift and Vive, meaning Sony has a larger pool of customers who might be interested in searching for the headset on the grounds that they already own the prerequisite hardware.

New Oculus Render Tech Cuts Entry Level VR PC Costs to $499

That’s also 40+ million consoles that Sony can reach directly via advertisements on the system software itself; the company is actively promoting the headset via the PlayStation Store on the PS4.

Whether it’s marketing, a built-in install base, or something else, it does seem to be working in Sony’s favor. The PSVR search trend appears to still be on the rise, and we’ll have to wait to see how high it will go.

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  • I think we all expected PSVR to be the mass market juggernaut in VR. It hits all of the important points for VR, such as positional tracking, low persistence, hand interaction, and manageable performance, all for a decent cost and little technical knowledge on the end user’s part. The only VR device more consumer friendly is the GearVR, albeit lacking most important components. PSVR will be the big make-or-break item for this generation of VR. It will either prove there is a large market for VR, or prove there isn’t.

    What’s more interesting, from what I’ve seen, is the huge demand in Europe, as opposed to the US. Going strictly by the lines for it’s release, Europeans are eager to test the VR waters, well the US audiences remain hesitant. Hopefully that hesitation will give way to more unbridled support, but new, unproven technology tends to move slow in the States.

    On the upside, I already see some people saying, “I lost interest in all 2D games once I saw VR”. I share that sentiment. But we still have quite awhile to wait before those AAA Games start dropping. My VIVE hasn’t been getting alot of love, and it’s pretty easy to blow through all current PSVR content in a few days. During this critical time, I hope Sony can deliver on the content to keep the ball rolling. A few decent multiplayer games could make all the difference right now.

    Speaking of which, where is the Onward or Battle Dome for the PSVR? Battlezone is about as close to decent multiplayer as the system has now. At $60 for a meh game, it’s a hard sell.

    • meowmel

      Have you tried rigs yet? The game is getting some rave reviews

      • Sunny Viji

        Rigs is freakin awesome, Rez, thumper and drive club,

        • OgreTactics

          Thumper and Rez…my god.

      • Rigs seems very simple. I might have to get Battlezone, as it apparently has far more depth then I’ve given it credit for. There is a Co-Op campaign that might be entertaining.

        Rigs though, it’s just a straight forward sports match, right?

  • Michael Lupton

    I do almost daily searches for psvr reviews, I am actually finding it fascinating how split reviwers are with the games, including here.a I am actually loving that for every poor review there is a good one giving me an actual variety of opinions.

    • dmbfk

      Yes I love that for every poor review there is a good one. It means there is no consensus and collectively the reviews tell us nothing about the game other than the fact that it divides opinion.
      That means if I buy a game that’s a piece of shit I can delude myself into thinking it was a sensible choice by finding the corresponding positive review.
      I like to live a life of self-deception and only read things that corroborate my own beliefs and opinions. I don’t want to know if games are genuinely good or bad, just that I am right every time.

      • Tony Murchison

        I’m not entirely sure what you’re trying to say. Are you saying that your personal opinion is only valid if a majority consensus agrees with you? That the quality of a game in an extremely volatile, explorative genre must be expressed as a universal one-dimensional value?

        VR is new, and people are not sure what to expect. There are elements here which people don’t even know they like or hate yet. It has become apparent that people care about different elements in VR, whether it be comfort, experience, sensation, or classic video game criteria like graphics, rewards and storyline.

        I would say that it’s not only to be expected, but even tremendously valuable that the reviewer base should reflect this. After a few VR experiences, an individual gamer can discover for themselves which elements are most important to them, and which online reviewers share these values.

        • dmbfk

          You won’t make any sense of my comment if you don’t read it as a reply.
          I highlight the limited value of reviews that collectively fail to reach a consensus repeatedly and the fallacy of cherry-picking favourable reviews.
          It’s not a point about VR per se, more a truth about any marketed consumable.

          • Tony Murchison

            But that’s just about the opposite of what the original comment said. He indicated that he enjoyed reading variously positive and negative reviews about the same subject, and comparing their differences. To which you reply with a rather angry rant on cherry-picking.

            This is the opposite of cherry-picking. This is informing yourself based on various points of view, and coming to a conclusion based on their relevance to your personal preference.

            I really don’t understand why a consensus is of such importance to you. If a minority of people like the game, why should that be invalid? Why shouldn’t various reviews reflect various reviewers? Just because you can’t use the average score to determine whether it suits your preferences?

          • dmbfk

            I disagree Tony, I think a preference for mixed reviews is pointless and like reading The Bible to cherry-pick what to believe, that kind of logic.
            Just my opinion Tony. Don’t let it spoil your day of Dungeons & Dragons you nerd.

          • Michael Lupton

            I honestly think contrasting opinions provide contrast and promote conversation. I am not trying to validate my opinion but see the opinions of others regardless of if I agree with them.

          • dmbfk

            And say for example you wanted to buy a PSVR game… does it inspire more or less confidence to buy with mixed reviews? That’s my point. It might be a wonderful exposé of human nature and a fascinating window into personal diversity (and other fluffy stuff) but no use when you’ve got your credit card out trying to decide what to buy is it? You’re making me glad I got a Vive because at least I don’t have to contend with everyone disagreeing.
            If we were talking movies and 50℅ gave bad reviews would you race out to see it? Would you celebrate the diversity in opinion? Oh look IMDB gave it a 5/10 get your shoes on we’re going!

          • Michael Lupton

            Fair enough, but while I do have a vested interest in this devices adoption, (I paid 400 bucks for the thing) I also have a bigger interest in this medium’s evolution. Great reviews do sell games, however mixed reviews give developers a better look at what they did positive and negative. The differing opinions also foster a better conversation about what does and does not work on both PSVR as well as VR in general.

        • Sunny Viji

          that is true for me, when i first see trailers for rez and thumper, i thought not my kinda games, but turns out to be some of the best gaming experiences i have had so far in VR, both mind blowing in very different ways, Rez in an enlighten way, and thumper was very dark and intense, both very simple in gameplay and grafix and simple controls, grafiix alone dont make a game, and these 2 games prove that,

          there r lots of demos available for the PSVR, try them out first, decide for urself see what hooks u, dont follow people, dont worry if people dont follow u, dont delude urself, enjoy what u like,

      • care package

        I disagree. After reading reviews that are near equally divided, I can come to the conclusion that I will definitely either like it or I won’t. Valuable info man!

  • TheVillasurfer

    Of course it was going to get huge attention, for many reasons mentioned above. Psvr will sell loads, but will never be a Rift or Vive experience. But it’s still decent, obviously. The Google phones will be the products that really bring vr to the masses, generating interest on a huge scale, which the non-smart phone companies will then use to sell more of the high-end tech like rift and Vive. It’s all coming together….

    • David Herrington

      “non-smart phone companies…” So you realize that Vive is made by HTC, right? The smart phone company? But I get your point.

      • TheVillasurfer

        Picky, but a fair point! :) Glad you know what I mean though.

  • OgreTactics

    Was predictable from a year ago (alongside the scales of Oculus/Vive sales). First there was a 13 millions installed user-base (VR ready PCs) for both Oculus & Vive vs 45 millions for the PS4, and of course the price of entry (300$ + 500$ for PS4 + PSVR vs 800$ + 800$ for PC + Oculus/Vive).

    But the TRUE reason why it was predictable is the bigger image of the context: PC VR means fucktons of different configurations, systems, incompatibilities and problems that arise from them, while PS4 is one single optimised platform. Then the PC context which implies single-person multi-purpose workstation vs family/friends single-purpose entertainment living room. And finally the system and device ergonomics: powering up the computer, then the dedicated platform, then fine-tuning the software and device with all it’s cables and strapped design vs unpausing the console, launching software, the put-n-lock design of the PSVR and the out-of-the-box TV transcription and multiplayer.

    A lot of other little reasons here and there, but mainly this is the reason why OF COURSE the PSVR will sell way more up until christmas, before either stalling because it suffers the shortcomings of PC Virtual Headsets.

    • Buddydudeguy

      Way to feed console peasantry. A “fucktons of different configurations, systems, incompatibilities” is tech illiterate hyperbole. Buy hardware that doesnt suck and meets requirments. Plug it in, it works.

      • OgreTactics

        I stopped I “console peasantry”. You’re a sub-human animal who does not deserve an answer.

        • Buddydudeguy

          oh noes, what will I do.

        • Buddydudeguy

          Says the console idiot.

  • Bill Haynes

    True but in the end the PC will win out.
    Consoles are bolted down to current specs with no way to upgrade.
    In the long run the PC gamers , the ones that had the dev kits and are dying for this platform.
    console kiddies will get bored and look for the next cool thing to do
    while the pc gamers will stick and grow with this platform cause lets
    face it I would guess most us pc players are either older gamer nerds
    from the 80’s or kids of gamer nerd dads from the 80’s.
    Most kids arent buying PC’s.
    True VR into the future will be carried by the PC gamers.

  • mellott124

    Could also be because Rift and Vive came before it and people are more aware now.

  • DoubleD

    Probably has to do with the name.
    Playstation and Sony are well known brand names. So Playstation VR will get a lot of interest.
    While Oculus is a self made brand only known for VR and almost nobody knows HTC.

    If they called the Vive “Valve VR” or “Steam VR” and the Oculus “Facebook VR” you’d get a much higher peak too.

  • Buddydudeguy

    To be fair, there are lots of console peasants out there. Lots of PS4’s in peoples living rooms. But lets keep it in perspective. PSVR is not a better VR set up vs a PC HMD.