Sony continues to lead the global virtual reality (VR) market and according to a recent statement from the President of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Atsushi Morita, sales figures for the PlayStation VR have exceeded the company’s expectations. Sony reportedly managed to sell over one million PlayStation VR head-mounted displays (HMDs) over the product’s lifespan so far, and part of its success seems to be attributed to the headset's price.
The PlayStation VR was released last October as an accessory for the PlayStation 4 console. The headset was launched at a relatively affordable price point compared to the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, costing $399, or half the price of the HTC Vive, and still significantly lower than the Oculus Rift which had an introductory price of $599. Furthermore, the PlayStation VR seemed to be a more convenient method of getting into the VR space because the headset is backed by Sony’s PlayStation 4 market accommodating around 60 million consoles. Meanwhile, both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift require expensive high-end PC components to operate at their full potential, which may have alienated potential buyers. In other words, while the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets appear to have been treated more like early adopter equipment for brave adventurers willing to spend a small fortune on a fully-fledged PC gaming setup and the VR HMD itself, Sony’s approach seems to have allowed more VR enthusiasts – especially those who already owned a PlayStation 4 console – to get a taste of this new immersive technology without breaking the bank.
Having said that, Sony managed to sell around 915,000 PlayStation VR units by February 19, 2017, indicating that the HMD's sales have actually slowed down in recent months. Moving forward, Sony’s exec claims he has great faith in the virtual reality segment and believes that VR technology “is the greatest innovation since the birth of television.” On the other hand, the VR market is still in its early days and has yet to reach its full potential, with many consumers reportedly still being on the fence with VR solutions due to a relative lack of compelling content. Time will tell whether that situation improves in the future, but more details on the matter will likely be available later this year.