Sony is setting high near term sales figure expectations for PlayStation VR’s rollout.
Speaking with CNBC earlier this week, Jim Ryan, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, spoke to the company’s confidence in early traction of the PSVR headset.
“We know from the data we have from pre-orders that the interest we have is significant,” Ryan said during a TV interview, further saying that PlayStation VR sales will be in the “many hundreds of thousands” as the headset rolls out. “We think to be able to offer PlayStation VR… [at $399 dollars] it’s extremely affordable and we think the takeup is going to be massive,” he said.
Hints of strong demand for PlayStation VR came earlier this year when major US game retailer GameStop said the headset was sold out “literally in five minutes,” and called it the “quickest sellout in GameStop’s history.” Amazon’s own pre-order allocations also sold-out within minutes of going live, while pre-order stock from major brick and mortar retailers like Target and Walmart lasted just a day or two.
PSVR launched earlier this week on the 13th after more than two years in development. The ‘Core Headset’ package (which excludes the required camera and optional PlayStation Move controllers) runs $400, while the ‘Launch Bundle‘ package (including camera and controllers) goes for $500. The headset hit shelves with around 30 launch titles, and the company says there will be 50 by the 2016 holiday. According to CNBC, Sony says there are some 160 PlayStation VR games currently in development.
One reason for PlayStation VR’s strong demand is likely price. PSVR is cheaper than the leading PC VR headsets, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, by $100 and $300 respectively (for the Launch Bundle, with the Core Headset package even less). There’s also Sony’s impressive install base to consider; with some 40 million PlayStation 4 systems in homes around the world, the company already has a large inbuilt audience with which to market their VR headset. And for newcomers to VR, the ‘all-in’ cost of PlayStation VR remains cheaper too, with the PlayStation 4 system needed to power the experience now under $300 compared to a significantly more expensive gaming PC needed to run the Rift or Vive.
Early reviews of PlayStation VR have praised the headset’s design and capability (despite being powered by three year old console hardware), but have pointed out the system’s comparatively poor tracking precision.
Now that the ‘big three’ first generation consumer VR headsets have hit the market, we expect to see sales and bundles heading into the holidays as they begin battling for consumer traction.