Sony expects a great demand on its PlayStation VR headset. The company ramped up production capacity preparing to sell “hundreds of thousands” units.
“We know from the data we have from pre-orders that the interest we have is significant,” Jim Ryan, president and chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, said and added that at launch, sales will be in the “many hundreds of thousands”.
PlayStation VR is Sony’s first step into virtual reality. The $399 device is to be linked to a PlayStation 4. Sony says that the headset will “help continue the strong momentum its gaming unit has enjoyed amid a slowdown in other areas such as smartphones”.
Sony has already a huge base of over 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles, so the expected sale of 2.6 million units of PlayStation VR can bring in additional revenues for the gaming unit. Sony definitely must keep up with strong production and supply to cope with the demand.
“We know that the replenishment cycle is a good one, production is going exactly as we 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,” Ryan told CNBC.
However, there are some moments that can be a challenge. Sony has announced the release of 50 games but many of them are not full titles. They represent what the company calls “experiences” and some of them do not even require the player.
“I think that’s one of the most worrying things about Sony and VR is that there is no killer title. There is no title where a gamer will say I need a complete VR system otherwise I can’t play this game,” Serkan Toto, chief executive of game industry consultancy Kantan Games, said.
Ryan responds that a wide-range of gamers might like the mix of games.
“We think there’s a really great range of value propositions…there are full game experiences, ‘Final Fantasy,’ there’s ‘Batman,’ there’s ‘Star Wars,’ but at the other end, there are smaller, lighter gaming experiences priced accordingly, very affordable. For us, it’s really important to have that great range of gaming propositions on PlayStation VR,” Ryan told CNBC.
Besides, the $399 price of the device doesn’t include the actual PS4 console, the hand controllers and camera needed for the headset to operate.
The release of the PlayStation VR headset will be followed by Xbox “Project Scorpio” console with VR capabilities by Microsoft next year. The price, though high, is still below than the $599 Oculus Rift, or $899 HTC Vive.