Quality products aren’t cheap, but that doesn’t mean affordable products can’t be quality. For example, look at the Meta Quest 2, which sold for between $300 and $500 in the product’s last two years and doesn’t require a console or PC of any kind to play great VR games.
So imagine the surprise to many when Sony finally unveiled the price of the PS VR2 (opens in a new tab). That’s a whopping $550 for the headset and controllers, making it $50 more expensive than the PS5 disc model (and $150 more expensive than the digital-only PS5). Considering it’s a console To add, it’s pretty ridiculous that Sony thinks it can charge more than the console itself. After all, the PS5 console is a requirement just to use a PS VR2.
That means you’ll have to pay at least $950 to use a PS VR2 (opens in a new tab) if you don’t already own a PS5. While Sony’s pricing structure is sure to limit the total number of units the headset sells over its lifetime, its strategy could pay off. (opens in a new tab) because that puts them in a separate category. Still, if Sony’s goal is to sell more headsets than the original PSVR, it might find such a reality particularly difficult to achieve these days.
Value, not price
There is no doubt that Sony will try to market the PS VR2 as the most economical VR headset. Truth be told, it really isn’t a lie at all if we get to it from a technology perspective. At $550, it’s the only headset with:
- eye tracking
- A 4K HDR screen
- Haptics in the helmet
- Controllers with finger detection
- Controllers with adaptive triggers
- Controllers with advanced haptics
- A company behind it with several AAA game studios
To put it into perspective, the only helmet that offers almost all these things are the Meta Quest Pro (opens in a new tab) which costs $1,500. Even then, the Quest Pro’s display isn’t “true” HDR and its controllers don’t have adaptive triggers. At this point, buying a PS VR2 seems like a pretty good deal, although you also need to buy a PS5 to get started.
But that ignores many of the changes the market has seen since the original PSVR released on the PS4 and the fact that Sony plans to sell 2 million units. (opens in a new tab) the first year, alone. For reference, that’s 1/3 of the number of PSVR headsets sold so far since 2016.
Anshel Sag, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, agrees that price is likely to be a tough hurdle for Sony to overcome. “I agree the price will make this a tough challenge, especially since standalone pricing and low volumes will scare off likely game developers who aren’t being paid by Sony to build for PSVR.”
I’ve seen people on social media point out that, taking inflation into account, the PS VR2 is actually about $50 cheaper than the PSVR when it originally launched in 2016. While that’s great for a perceived market value versus inflationary cost adjustment, it ignores the fact that standalone VR headsets didn’t really exist in 2016 when the original PSVR launched.
That last point is really the crux of the matter, and what makes me feel like the PS VR2 is, ultimately, too expensive for what you get.
Look at the past (to see the future)
When the original PSVR launched in 2016, it cost $399. At the time, that was an incredible price even though it cost the same as the PS4 console itself, which also launched at $399. Why is that? Because there was no competition at this price level.
At the time, PC VR was just getting started and there were few options available. The Oculus Rift CV1 shipped for $599 with a lame Xbox controller and could only be played while seated in a chair while the much more advanced HTC Vive sold for $799 and had better tracking and controllers than the Rift or the PSVR.
But both of these headsets required a powerful gaming rig that, at the time, would probably have cost you an extra $1,500. Meanwhile, Sony was offering a fairly comparable solution for just $800 out the door.
In 2022, Meta is selling its Quest 2 headset for $399 which, as I covered before, requires nothing else to run the best VR games (opens in a new tab) you will find anywhere. And that’s where my last point comes in: games.
Oculus studios (opens in a new tab) has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two years. Meta now has nine development houses (with a tenth awaiting regulatory approval) that solely develop VR titles. Meanwhile, Sony has both acquired multiple development teams (opens in a new tab) and simultaneously closed some (opens in a new tab)sending mixed signals about its intentions for virtual reality as a mainstream gaming medium for PlayStation’s future.
Sag also seems to agree with this, saying “I think Sony’s studio will have to make some amazing PSVR titles to help improve the value proposition, otherwise I don’t see a lot of indie developers seeing a lot of return on investment. if the attach rate will be even lower than the original PSVR, which I think most of us expect to come in at $549.”
For example, Sony announced 11 new PS VR2 games (opens in a new tab) on the same day, he announced the price of the helmet. That sounds great, especially since most of them are launch window games, but that ignores the fact that nine of those eleven titles are either already on the Quest 2 or also coming out for the Quest 2.
Meta has made many mistakes throughout the growth of its Quest line of headsets, but, in the end, developers have benefited from the company’s bullish approach. Last year we saw several developers start to make it big (opens in a new tab) with millions of dollars in revenue, and alongside the launch of Meta Quest Pro a few weeks ago, Meta announced that over 400 apps in the Quest store have generated over $1 million in revenue.
That’s a whopping 1/3 of all apps in the Quest store, literally earning developers money, and top performing developers have earned tens of millions more than that. Meanwhile, the PSVR ecosystem has languished over the years, and Sony hasn’t exactly been jolly when it comes to touting developer success on its platform.
I fear the high price of the PS VR2 will only further cement Sony’s headsets as niche add-ons like the Wii Balance Board, accessories you use a few times and then keep in a closet after a year or so. of them.
#VR2 #damn #overpriced