Sony has announced the price of PlayStation VR, and I must admit that it was far cheaper than I expected. I’ve always believed that, if VR was going to take off and go ‘mainstream’, it would be on the shoulders of one of the console manufacturers – and I have a feeling that it could be Sony leading the way. Maybe you agree, maybe you disagree. Check out my five reasons outlining my logic, and then let me know in the comments below if you’re like minded – or if you think that I’m full of it!
1) The price
I think that the main reason Sony will come off top in the VR race, is the price. When you’re looking at £500 for Oculus and £690 for the HTC, as two main competitors, PlayStation VR’s cool price of £349 is a relative steal. You might argue that you’ll need a PS4 to play it, which you do, but at the moment you can pick up a PS4 for around £260, which is till around £80 cheaper than buying an HTC VR headset, when you purchase the two. Not only that, but to play the Oculus or the HTC, you’ll need a high-spec PC. Unless you already have one, you’re looking at well over £600 just for that. Would you be willing to pay over £1,000 just to play VR? Some might, but I know that the majority will stick around and wait for the headsets to drop in price – which may well be too late for the more pricey options.
2) VR and console bundles
Following on from the price argument, Sony have the option to bundle their VR headset with a PS4 console. This is a win-win for Sony. They’ll sell more units than their competitors, because the bundle will still be cheaper (probably) than some of their competitor’s units on their own. They’ll ship more consoles and potentially turn some non-console gamers, who may not be able to afford a high-spec PC, onto the PS4 over their competitors. And, finally, it’ll help to guarantee the survival of their headset because, as they ship more units, they may even be able to drop the price further.
3) The games
For headsets like Oculus and HTC, they’ll be relying quite heavily on third-party titles. These companies don’t necessarily have the experience of developing and delivering hit gaming experiences, and none will have the same experience as Sony – who have been in the game for well over 20 years. Sony already have hit exclusive titles to tap into, and a list of game developers who could easily create some fantastic experiences for their new VR headset. Not only that, they’ve also announced that current PlayStation 4 games can be played whilst wearing the VR headset (but they won’t be VR experiences). Overall, the thing that will ensure the survival of any VR headset is the games, and the frequency of those games. By having a massive back-catalogue of titles which can be played in PlayStation VR, and a wealth of experience and expertise to tap into for future VR titles, PlayStation VR is in the best position for survival.
4) The dedicated fan base
Another key to survival, and success, are people. Whilst PlayStation VR might not be the best example of a VR experience, it will definitely have the largest fan-base; and that’s purely down to Sony. Whilst HTC, Samsung, Oculus, and the rest, have to build up a dedicated audience, Sony already has that audience to tap into. People trust Sony, people like Sony and many will buy the latest Sony gaming tech purely for the reason that it is made by Sony. This puts them in a great position to build from, and when you combine it with the fact that the tech is cheap and that it will have a good amount of developer support – I’d struggle to imagine any of the other VR developers having as easy a run.
5) Overall, it’s the most accessible
All of these points combine to make one simple fact, PlayStation VR should be the most accessible of the lot (excluding cheaper options, like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear, which I feel won’t be delivering the same quality of experience as the more expensive options). It will be relatively in-expensive, in the schemes of things, it’ll be well supported, it’ll have a good amount of games available, with the potential of a plethora of further titles down the road, it’ll have a dedicated fan-base and it could potentially be shipped alongside one of the most successful Sony consoles to date. And I feel that PlayStation VR’s accessibility will be its saving grace, potentially making it the most popular VR experience – perhaps this decade.
I’ve intentionally avoided Microsoft’s HoloLens, purely for the fact that this will mostly be an AR experience. We’ve also seen far less of Microsoft’s tech, but it will be interesting to see what happens with the popularity of VR when HoloLens becomes available.
What do you think? Do you agree with my round-up, or do you foresee some issues that I’ve not picked up on? Let me know in the comments below!