Sony’s already way ahead of the competition when it comes to gaming.
The company’s PlayStation 4 console is the sales leader (by far) compared to Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii U. And Sony’s PlayStation division is on the verge of a massive new addition to its popular game console: PlayStation VR.
The virtual reality headset that Sony’s making is both high-end and incredibly accessible. Simply plug it into your PlayStation 4 and you’re in. That’s it.
Let’s compare that to the other high-end virtual reality headsets coming from Facebook and HTC: They require expensive, high-powered computers to run them, large, empty spaces to use them, and tracking systems mounted to walls/above monitors to be tracked.
All that said, the head of Sony’s PlayStation division, Andrew House, just said something in an interview that could seriously hinder PlayStation VR’s accessibility. The headset will apparently cost as much as “a new gaming platform.” Uh oh.
The interview was conducted with Bloomberg Businessweek on the heels of Sony’s PlayStation VR renaming announcement on September 15. House said there are at least 10 VR-specific games headed to PlayStation VR when it launches in the first half of 2016, from a game where you pilot a massive mech suit in a futuristic sport to a new-ish entry in the long-running “Final Fantasy” series.
That’s a decent amount of stuff to play, but consumers are going to need a pretty good reason to spend “new gaming platform” amounts of money. Of course, new game platforms range in price pretty dramatically — a new PlayStation 3 at launch cost $US500 at minimum, whereas an OUYA game console cost just $US100 at launch. Samsung’s virtual reality headset, Gear VR, costs $US200 — the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift from HTC/Valve and Facebook, respectively, aren’t priced yet. Early versions of the Oculus Rift cost between $US200 and $US300, though they employed technology that’s nowhere near as cutting edge as what’s in next year’s headsets.
We asked Sony for a better idea of what House meant and have yet to hear back, but we’re willing to bet he doesn’t mean it will be cheap.
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