Sony: PlayStation VR Sales In The “many hundreds of thousands”

by Jamie Feltham • October 14th, 2016

We’re going to be playing guessing games when it comes to VR headset sales for a long time yet, but Sony has at least given us a ballpark to play with when it comes to PlayStation VR.

Speaking to CNBC at the headset’s launch yesterday, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe President and Chief Executive, Jim Ryan, reportedly said that launch sales for the device will be in the “many hundreds of thousands”. Ryan didn’t go into any specifics, but did state that interest in the device was “significant” based on pre-order data. PS VR is currently sold out at many retailers, with Amazon UK not expecting to be caught up with orders until December.

If true that’s encouraging data. We still have no solid statistics on what Rift and Vive are really selling, but their high price tags ($599 and $799 respectively) and need for high-end PCs is undeniably a barrier to entry for many. Sony, meanwhile, already has over 40 million VR ready machines in people’s homes with its PlayStation 4 console, and PS VR costs significantly less than its competitors at $399. That gives the headset a real shot at gaining an early lead in the VR market, even if it’s not as advanced as its rivals.

The real question is if Sony can’t maintain that lead going forward as PC-based VR continues to lower its barrier to entry. Last week Oculus introduced a minimum spec for the Oculus Rift that further reduces the cost of VR ready PCs, with rigs as low as $499 now supporting the headset.

Ryan also noted that production for PS VR is going as anticipated. “We have made decisions to further increase capacity at the back end of 2016 and into 2017, so there are going to be a lot of PlayStation VRs around the world, whether that’s enough to satisfy the demands of the market, we’ll see,” he said. Getting units into hands as fast as possible will be crucial, as it will create more demand for units.

It certainly sets an interesting precedent as we head into the holiday season.

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  • jimrp

    Should sell alot more come Christmas

  • DotComCTO

    More crucial is developers releasing a steady stream of good VR games. It’s a chicken and egg problem, but Sony have clearly sold enough units to warrant further developer investment. Hopefully more games that people actually want to play translates into more consumers buying PS VR so the cycle can continue. Consumer adoption of PS VR is super important to the industry as a whole.

    And yes, I am the Master of the Obvious. 🙂

  • KSE1977

    Not to be a nay-sayer, but I am going to call shenanigans on those figures. At the price of a PS4 console, requiring controllers and a camera, plus lacking an actual “killer app”, I would be surprised if they actually sold through that many. I think with time they will, but the language they use is not quite as certain as what was actually quoted.

    • random_name

      I can believe they sold that many, considering the amount of PS4’s they have on the market. The Author is correct that the consoles have a lower entry point to VR.

      IDK about your accusation of no “killer app” either. While I haven’t spent much time looking at PS4 games, I believe they’re coming in with pretty good reviews. Though, I do know it was similar for the Vive as well towards the beginning. I own a Vive. These may not be considered killer apps, but for right now, people will consider them killer. It’s once the first wave of games is done is when people wake up and realize what is possible now, which was unthinkable only a couple years ago.

      • VG Collector

        The consoles have a lower entry point to VR, but your also getting a lower quality experience. The PS4 is just too weak to produce quality VR. The PS4 has a hard time producing a quality game at 1080p 60fps. Quality VR is 1200p 90-120 fps. PS VR on a standard PS4 will just not produce a quality smooth experience.

    • ZeroBlitz

      RIGS is the killer app for action/shooter and sports fans not to mention Battlezone. Rez Infinite is the killer app in terms of something incredibly special that will appeal to anyone. Driveclub VR is the killer app for racing fans (with Gran Turismo coming next year). Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is the killer app for those who want to feel like they have several genuinely scary and immersive amusement park rides in their home. There are several games like Bound and Wayward Sky which are killer apps for adventure fans. Sportsbar VR is a kind of a killer app for social gaming and pool fans. EVE: Valkyrie is the killer app for space shooter fans. Thumper is the killer app for rhythm fans. Resi 7 will be the killer app for horror fans. Ace Combat will be the killer app for flight sim fans.

      Honestly the best launch of a gaming system I’ve ever seen which is mostly owed to the fantastic capabilities of VR gaming. Also estimates show 55 million PS4s worldwide right now… It only takes 1% to pick up 550,000 PSVR headsets. that’s just 1 person for every hundred that owns a PS4. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony reaches 2 million+ by the end of the year (so approx 4% adoption or one person for every 25 that owns a PS4).

      I’m just one of many people that have always thought VR gaming looked exciting and would have loved to own a high end gaming pc and vive or something but the £1600 investment is a bit ridiculous. Given that I already own a PS4 spending out £400-£500 for PSVR and a few extras/games isn’t really a big deal by comparison. Friends and family I’ve shown so far are all blown away and I’m sure it will spread quickly now that it’s fairly affordable. It’s expensive yes but honestly it’s a far more reasonable purchase compared to the average consumer’s annual (or biannual) £600 iphone upgrade.

      • KSE1977

        Yeah, I hear you to a certain extent. If you want to get into VR, then Sony’s 400 dollar entry is the cheapest way to do so as Vive and Rift are pretty expensive, in addition to needing a strong PC rig to play.

        You may feel that Rez is a killer app, and it may be a blast, there are some great experiences on Rift and Vive both as well. Still, I have yet to experience a truly killer app in this space. They are immersive and impressive without a doubt, but we have yet to experience the game that is going to open it all up for VR. As a VR fan, I have my fingers crossed. I have the Rift and Vive and while I liked the headset for the PSVR itself, the controls and overall performance and visuals are not quite at the same level. Then again they are still impressive for what is likely going to be the first VR for many gamers.

        • Sereal_killer

          The problem is that a killer app in vr might not be what we expect. Vr causes fatigue in most people thus getting that 10 hour shooter or 60 hour rpg might be ways off. The locomotion problem also hinders this for most people. The other problem is that developing such a big game requires a big install base which isnt there yet. Atm the best we can hope for is a game with chapters atca reasonable price that slowly builds to a full game if the demand is there. In the future i believe even big games might have to br chopped into chapters to encourage rest and prevent motion sickness. The two games that seem the most interesting to me are Robinson: the journey for its production values and xing because it seems like the first exploration puzzle game.

          • KSE1977

            You may be right. It may be ages before we see any truly successfull VR titles. Certainly games like Audio Shield do a great job of showcasing the tech and they may even sell fairly well, but we may be a ways off from a multi-million seller. I personally love the horror stuff that gets released as it really adds a new layer to horror products.

          • David Melton

            We’ll see what happens when Bethesda steps up to the plate. Fallout 4 in VR sounds intriguing but I really hope they don’t screw it up by only offering one locomotion option

    • Dark_Frost

      ” I would be surprised if they actually sold through that many”, well GameStop pre-orders ended in like 5min because of the amount of orders, and even Amazon Pre-orders ran out in about 12min. So Yes its safe to say that they have sold that many! Also Sony is banking on the fact that with 40 million console already sold there are 40 million potential customers that only have to pay $399, or $499 (with camera).

      • VG Collector

        Most of the pre-orders were from eager fans and scalpers. Now you can find the units in stock pretty much everywhere and there are even several used ones selling on my local Craig’s List for up to $100 retail. The party might have ended before it even really started.

  • Unspoken

    I have a Rift. Never tried Vive but hopefully get to try it soon. PSVR I will never buy, but still I hope it sells gazillion units. During the first 1-3 gens it doesn’t matter which one(s) sell, as far as some do. We need solid VR foundation or it dies away. Facebook / Valve / HTC / Sony will finance games and experiences only so far, and if by then most devs don’t turn profit, it’s end of the story for consumer VR. I think PSVR is the biggest reason I believe in bright future.

    • David Dewis

      You say you would never buy PSVR. Is that purely because it’s console based?

      I only ask as I tried PSVR for the first time the other day. I’ve been a Rift owner since launch so I was expecting to be underwhelmed, due to lower power graphics and resolution. But truth be told, it was arguably the VR experience I’ve had. No the tracking isn’t as spot on as Vive or Rift, but there was no screen door at all and it was by far the most comfortable headset. And while it was only a demo, London Hiest was by far the most ‘WOW’ VR experience I’ve had so far.

      All I’m saying is, don’t write off PSVR, purely on the fact it’s on console. Try it when you get a chance.

      • David Melton

        How does it compare to the Vive is the question? The Tracking on a Vive is simply fantastic and I think I would get rather annoyed with the PlayStation Move as a VR controller. I say this having owned the Move controllers for a few years now. Even when I demo’d them to other people for games using the sharp shooter most people just couldn’t get it to work right. It took me quite a bit of time to get Kill Zone 3 with the move controllers down and I would say this was the closest thing to a good experience that I could find. When I heard that the PSVR would use these same crappy controllers I was dumbfounded

        • David Dewis

          It’s not comparable to the Vive, it’s closer to the Rift in functionality. The tracking can be bad in the wrong lighting conditions, but personally, I didn’t suffer any issues other than the fact the PS4 camera has a narrower field of view = smaller movable area.

          In the long term, Vive could suffer from being more advanced than the other two main headsets. Most devs will develop for PSVR as it will have the larger user base. Oculus is also aiming predominantly for forward facing VR at the moment. It’s likely games may not make the most of room scale anyway.

      • VG Collector

        If he has Rift, he most likely has a pretty good gaming computer. The PS4 is simply way too under powered to compete with that.

        • David Dewis

          But actually it’s not that far apart. I have an i7 4790k at 4.7ghz and a gtx 1080 triple slot card (can’t remember OC sorry) the point is that the price difference isn’t equivalent to the performance difference. What ever the small breakout box is doing, it works well. The tracking isn’t as spot on, but it’s using old camera tech and motion controllers launched on the last gen. if people have a PS4 and don’t buy a PSVR based purely on the fact it’s a ‘console’ VR so couldn’t possibly be as good, without trying it first; to me That seems very narrow minded. It doesn’t change the fact that the experience I had on PSVR equaled or beat anything I’d done on the Rift. Maybe that’s the addition of hand tracking at this time. But the point still stands.

          • VG Collector

            I’ve played both Vive and PS VR. PS VR simply lacks fluidity. I’ve talked to a couple of people that had their PS VR listed on Craig’s List for less than retail as to why they were selling and was told motion sickness (and lack of games). That’s where your computer helps a lot. Your computer is multiple times faster than a PS4 and can produce 1200p on a quality game at 90-120fps easily. The PS4 has a hard time doing 1080p 60fps and that’s where the motion sickness comes to play. To be honest, none of the VR units are quiet ready yet, but with more quality software Vive and Rift can be. With the lack of power in the PS4, PS VR just wont be. Maybe on PS4 Pro, but it’s even under powered compared to our computers.

          • David Dewis

            We will have to agree to disagree. Personally, my experience and that of my friends was nothing but positive. The lack of games is an issue that currently affects all VR platforms. The refresh rate felt smooth and one of my friends, who suffers from motion sickness a lot in VR, had no such issues in the games we played. I don’t think PSVR will flop. I think it will outsell its PC counterparts easily purely based on the lower prerequisites.

          • Jeff King

            I agree with David, I heard all this talk about how the PS4 was too under powered but it’s completely false. I was blown away at launch when I tried VR Worlds and still continue to be right now. I demo it for friends all the time and everyone is in awe. I just recently tried the Rogue One X-Wing mission and the Resident Evil demo, truly unbelievable. I could care less that is less powerful than Rift and Vive.

  • impurekind

    This is all good stuff; the more VR sells, via any of the big/main companies, the better. It’s off to a strong start; a great start actually when you consider the high cost of entry and the complexity of the whole setup for now.

  • Russ Miller

    All this ‘killer app’ talk takes me back to 2012 and the Vita’s slow downward spiral. For Sony’s sake, I hope they have their shit together this time.

  • Roger Stephen Roth

    Sony is getting it and gamers are delighted! Nintendo missed a big opportunity with its last two consoles as the switch disappoints in terms of comparison to the PS4 and XBOX One. Microsoft i am sure will do a good job in keeping up with Sony with the VR. Nintendo may be on its way out of the console market and heading to the same place Sega and Atari did as third party developers. Sony VR system is exactly what was needed to make Virtual Reality gaming mainstream and they nailed it not just with the launch but with the timing having sold enough PS4’s to support demand among gamers and be able to offer non gaming related experiences in the VR market.

    • David Melton

      Nintendo’s biggest mistake last generation was that they never released a Zelda title. I would have bought a Wii U just for that and it will be enough of a reason for my to justify buying a Switch. Do not underestimate the power of Link

      • Roger Stephen Roth

        Nintendo games are phenomenal but the problem is lately their consoles have not been as good. Their past consoles were actually a lot better.

  • I have the PlayStation VR. It’s amazing. No, it’s not 4K. No, it’s not perfect, but it gets you there. Batman VR and Eve Valkyrie are the most impressive games so far and more is on the way. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

  • VG Collector

    Based on all of the used ones for sale on my local Craig’s List for as much as $100 off retail, PS VR is taking a huge nose dive. Maybe in a couple more years when there is a large enough installed base of PS Pros, but the current PS4 is just too weak to push quality VR.