Sony has played the $399 price card to perfection with its PlayStation VR headset though it remains to be seen if it will have the VR experience on offer to match its competitors.
Sony has announced its PlayStation VR headset will be hitting streets in October and will be carrying a price tag of $399. The announcement was made at the 2016 Game Developer Conference in San Francisco.
The price which can be considered quite affordable in comparison to Sony’s competitors in the VR realm, however, does not include the PlayStation Camera or the Move controllers. Those need to be bought extra and costs $44 and $40 respectively. There sure will be bundle deals comprising of the three though Sony has declined to spare any comment on this at the moment.
Sony justified selling the PS Camera and the Move controllers separately saying most PlayStation 4 owners have already bought their camera while the Move controllers are required for only a few games.
“We leveraged our expertise across engineering and industrial design to create a VR system with the most compelling experiences,” said Andrew House, the chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment
However, apart from the low initial pricing, another inherent advantage Sony has with its VR headset is that it already has a huge PlayStation 4 user base to tap into. The gaming console has notched up sales in excess of 36 million since its launch in 2013. The console continues to dominate Xbox One and has outsold the Microsoft offering for the month of February as well.
The Sony offering also works out to be quite cheap even if the PS4 console too is taken into account. That way, the headset together with the PS4 console along with the camera and controllers work out to around $900. In contrast, the Oculus Rift headset alone costs $599, or $1,500 when bought along with PC. The HTC Vive headset costs $800 though the entire package comprising of a compatible PC could turn out to be in excess of $1,800. Computers capable of supporting virtual reality need to have a lot of processing punch and don’t come cheap.
“We wanted to make sure we had an accessible price for the gaming community,” Mr. Koller said. “Having low barriers to entry and having as many games as possible is really critical to us.”
Sony further stated they have 230 developers engaged in creating games for the PlayStation VR headset. The company also revealed that there will be 50 games available between the launch of the headset and the end of the year, which includes the Star Wars: Battlefront Experience.
As for its specs, the PlayStation VR headset comes with a 5.7-inch OLED display having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It will support 3D audio and will have a latency time of less than 18ms and will be displaying games at up to 120 frames. Then there are also nine LEDs for 360-degree head tracking as well.
However, while the PlayStation VR headset’s low initial pricing sure makes for an advantage, many doubt if the virtual reality experience will be at par with the likes of the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.