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.