Originally published on Trevor Trove on March 15, 2016
Alright. At long last, we have a price and a release month for PlayStation VR: $399 – October 2016. Announced today at GDC, this sets up Sony as the early frontrunner in the VR space. Even factoring in the cost of the required PlayStation Camera and an optional Move controller or two, PlayStation’s offering comes in under the comparable offerings by Oculus Rift ($599) and the HTC Vive ($799). The real victory for Sony is that players only need a $350-400 PlayStation 4 to run VR, compared to the $800+ PC needed to run the Rift or Vive.
Side note: I absolutely love how the design of the processor box mirrors the PS4 design.
By isolating the Headset as a standalone item, Sony has effectively replicated one of the tactics that allowed the PlayStation 4 to dominate the mindshare over the Xbox One. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles themselves were comparable in price at launch of $400. But Xbox One decided to bundle their Kinect investment in at launch – raising the price tag to $500 – whereas Sony opted to leaving the PlayStation Camera as an add-on.
The people spending $600 on an Oculus rift are getting the headset, controllers, and a few games. If you added up the comparable equipment on the PlayStation side, it’d probably come out to about the same cost. But PlayStation has had the benefit of having planned ahead with the PlayStation 4, DualShock 4, and even the PlayStation 3 Move controllers. The existing PlayStation 4 player base already has at least one controller built in from their console, while Oculus and HTC needed to introduce controllers and factor them into the cost.
It would not surprise me at all if PlayStation made a very conscious, deliberate decision to only include the Playroom VR – one of the system’s many tech demos. Perhaps they’ll add an extra title or two before launch but right now, the built-in library is lacking compared to the other two systems.
Overall, though, I’m somewhat pleased. My original prediction that the system would launch at $399.99 with No Man’s Sky is about halfway right. Furthermore, my predictions from this morning are currently in decent shape as well. I was spot on with the $400 Headset-only offering. Shuhei Yoshida (well, more accurately a PlayStation representative with Mr. Yoshida) told Tech Insider that there would also be a bundle including a PlayStation Camera and Move controller. So my $500 PS VR bundle isn’t completely out of the running. And while I predicted a November 11th release date, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that “October 2016” gets pushed a few weeks. Lastly, though, I was completely off on my predictions on the launch titles (No Man’s Sky, Eagle Flight, and 100-ft Robot Golf). And I still argue that this line-up would be far far better.
While I haven’t been completely sold on PlayStation VR, at $399, I might just pick it up anyway so I can cover it for the site.