Last week Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Vice President of Research and Development, Dominic Mallinson, opened up about this thoughts on the future of VR at the Collisson 2019 conference in Toronto. While Mallinson was clear about the company’s commitment to VR going forward, he also said it’s unlikely that PSVR 2 will launch at the same time as PS5.
Sony has previously confirmed that the current PSVR headset will be compatible with PS5, and the company’s R&D chief, Dominic Mallinson, recently spoke to what kind of features he thinks are important for a next-gen PSVR 2 headset.
Speaking to CNET however, Mallinson last week said it’s unlikely that the company would launch a new headset at the same time that PS5 launches.
“There’s no reason for us to coincide [a new VR headset] with a new console. From the point of view of the consumer, to be bombarded with many many things—oh, you have to buy this, you have to buy that—is a message that we don’t want to send. In some ways, it’s good to have a little breathing space between those things,” he said, CNET reported.
The original PSVR headset launched in late 2016, a whole three years after the launch of PS4 (but ahead of the launch of PS4 Pro). And while Sony has racked up an impressive 4.2 million sales of the headset, it seems like that number would surely be larger if the headset was available from the outset.
Still, game consoles compete against gaming PCs largely on their value proposition, and Sony sensibly doesn’t want to introduce sticker shock (a lesson they surely haven’t forgotten about PS3’s high launch price).
The original PSVR was introduced at $400 for the headset alone (the same price as PS4 itself at the time), though the bundle with the PS Camera (required) and PS Move controllers (optional) was $500. That’s certainly expensive, though because it wasn’t released right alongside PS4, it may have been seem more as a mid-cycle upgrade for existing PS4 owners instead of an attempt to nab new customers at a combined console + headset price of $900 (which could then fall into competition with PC gaming).
So it seems sensible that Sony would try a similar strategy with PSVR 2 and PS5, but ultimately the bigger factor may be what kind of technology the company can fit into the headset at their target price point. Sony has aggressively reduced the price of PSVR down to $350 for the full bundle, and it seems like that’s roughly where PSVR 2 will need to stay to compete against the likes of low cost PC headsets like Rift S and even standalone headsets like Quest.