As expected, dabbling in VR is going to be a pretty expensive occupation.
Interestingly though, developers already seem quite split on what to charge the consumer. With Vive setting you back $800 and Oculus priced at $600, all eyes are on Sony to see what value they slap on Playstation VR.
With more and more people abandoning the VR camp feeling like they’ve been priced out of the market, I believe Sony will take a risk and make their hardware a loss-leader to draw them back in. Here’s 4 reasons why.
1 - It already has plenty of support
We know of almost 100 Playstation VR games currently in development, and they’re coming from developers such as Double Fine, Namco Bandai, Media Molecule, and Crytek.
Big name's are already being attached to the hardware, including the first Psychonauts game in over a decade, the eagerly anticipated No Man’s Sky, a return for Rez, and a complete overhaul of Playstation racer, Drive Club.
Sony may end up losing money if they opt for the cheapest VR hardware on the market, but they’ll surely sell a truckload of software to make some of it back, especially as if you're buying anything to use on your PS:VR; you're buying it from Sony.
2 - Promise for the future
With Hideo Kojima signed on with Sony, and a wealth of popular franchises at their disposal - including Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted, Sly Cooper, and Jak & Daxter - they have potential to offer exclusives you won’t be able to play on any other VR platform.
With PS4 still relatively early on in its lifecycle, and the headset projected to release later this year, that also means future PS4 games could feature VR connectivity, meaning strong support for the hardware for at least the next five years.
Sony are also clearly invested in the project as they held a focused VR event in December and are doing another next month. In fact, their emphasis on VR has got to the point where some are bemoaning them for not having enough interesting console exclusives upcoming (that we know about!). There is clearly a lot of work going into VR behind the scenes and Sony want to make sure they’re leading the charge in 2016.
3 - They’re in a position that they can afford to do it
Let’s face facts. PS4 has exceeded all expectations. It’s sold 35 million units worldwide in over 26 months on the market. Sony have found an attractive price-point for the system, there’s a large user-base there, and it’s got some huge online exclusives.
The Playstation brand is in a healthy financial position so Sony can afford to take some risks. They know there’s interest in VR. They know they’ve got a lot of interesting titles in development, there’s some strong possibilities for the future, and there’s a large potential audience there to make their money back.
Where the business model for both Oculus and Vive is a bit all-in, Sony have a plumped-up, cash-filled cushion to fall back on if it all goes a bit Pete-Tong.
4 - Convenience
VR is going to be a new deal for everybody, and some may be put off by setting up on a PC, having to tinker with an overwhelming stream of options they don’t fully understand. Getting a PC "VR Ready" isn't going to be cheap, after all. With PS4, it’s likely the whole thing will be set up in minutes via simple plug and play.
When trying to get someone on board with new hardware, convenience is everything, and that’s a massive bonus Playstation owners are sure to have.
Bring the price down low enough so that casual observers can seriously contemplate a purchase, and we have a winner, winner, lamb-cutlet in mint gravy dinner.
How much do you think Playstation VR will cost? Are you buying one at launch? Do you have your own reasons for doing so? Let us know..