Sony Launches PlayStation VR Headset13 Oct, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Sony Interactive Entertainment Oct. 13 began selling the PlayStation VR headset, a $399 device that requires a compatible PS4 video game console and PlayStation camera. Sony is also selling a $500 Launch Bundle that includes the headset, camera and two Move controllers.
The PS VR includes a demo disc with trials for 18 games, including Resident Evil 7.
Sony recently introduced the $399 PS4 Pro console, which together with a 4K TV enables streaming of 4K UHD content from sources such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video, among others. The unit will launch at retail in November.
"By accelerating the innovation cadence at PlayStation, we’re introducing choice in the marketplace, enabling gamers to choose the PS4 model that meets their needs,” Andrew House, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said in a statement last month.
While Sony marks the latest CE manufacturer to embrace virtual reality, consumer adoption of the format remains limited to gamers — and a minority at that.
The non-virtual reality is that just 6% of U.S. adults will get a VR headset this year, according to Strategy Analytics.
More than 11 million Americans will own one by the end of 2016, with prices ranging from under $15 for a Google Cardboard headset to $799 for an HTC Vive. The market will generate nearly $556 million in revenue.
Lower-cost headsets such as Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear will represent 93% of units owned. Headsets attached to games consoles, such as the PS VR, will account for 6%. Just 1% of sales will go on the likes of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets that plug into PCs, according to Strategy Analytics.
Superdata, a research group, contends 2.6 million PS VR units will be sold by the end of the year.
“Despite the rush of companies eager to jump in, the reality is that VR take-up among the U.S. public will be a slow burn and dominated by low-cost headsets,” SA analyst David MacQueen said in a statement.
MacQueen said VR headset penetration in the U.S. is higher than in other countries due to promotions and giveaways. Indeed, 40% of U.S. adults will own some form of VR headset by 2020, according to SA.
“Samsung is giving away lots of Gears with new handsets, Google has given a lot away too, and even the New York Times gave 1.5 million to their subscribers to try out a series of VR documentaries,” MacQueen said.