If you pre-ordered a PlayStation VR unit as soon as they became available at GDC in March then you might well get one on launch day. The rest of us? Not so much.
Sony has confirmed that it’s expecting supply shortages of the upcoming virtual reality headset when it launches on October 13th 2016. Speaking with CNBC, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Andrew House noted that the company has “growing confidence” that the device will be “supply constrained” when it goes on sale. That’s not the nicest way to say that stocks for the kit will be limited, but House did also pledge that the company would do its “very best to meet demands”. Given PlayStation VR will be launching in the busy holiday period that will be easier said than done.
House also noted that it would be “difficult to predict” the “user uptake” for VR. He even touched upon the now confirmed but unrevealed upgraded PlayStation 4, which he strictly referred to as an “option” for those that might have recently purchased a 4K TV or are looking for better graphical performance out of their games. Sony chose not to debut the device at E3 this week, unlike Microsoft, which teased its VR-capable upgraded Xbox One, codenamed Project Scorpio. What impact this new system will have on PS VR itself remains to be seen.
Many are predicting that PlayStation VR will be a popular choice within the context of the VR industry at this early stage. That’s mainly to do with price and accessibility; the device costs $399 (without the necessary camera, available in a bundle), and will run on any PlayStation 4 console, upgraded or otherwise.
In theory, you could get a VR ready setup for around $800 with PS VR and a PS4, which may seem expensive but is a fraction of the cost of a PC-based HMD like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and a computer powerful enough to run them. It also helps that 40 million people already own those PS4s.
The statistics are certainly going to Sony’s favour in this early stage, but we’ll have no way of telling how PS VR will sell until it’s finally available. Still, it sounds unlikely that you’ll get one on launch day now, which is a shame seeing as you probably want one after this week’s Sony press conference.