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Retail

PlayStation VR surprises with $399 price point

By Rachel Weber

PlayStation VR surprises with $399 price point

Tue 15 Mar 2016 9:12pm GMT / 5:12pm EDT / 2:12pm PDT
RetailHardwareGDC 2016

Release in October 2016

Sony received a round of applause when it announced the final price and release date for PlayStation VR - $399 (£349) and on shelves in October 2016.

Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, also announced that an exclusive Star Wars Battlefront game for PlayStation was currently in development at EA's DICE studio, and more information would be available soon. Currently 230 developers are working on content for PlayStation VR.

The final design of the headset is very similar to the most recent prototypes and the specs feature an OLED 5.7-inch screen capable of a 1920 x 1080 RGB image with a 120Hz refresh rate, and 360 degree tracking with 9 LEDs. The price does not include PlayStation Move controllers or a PlayStation camera.

"To achieve such a compelling launch price was far from an easy task. It requires tapping into the expertise that we've gained across engineering, design and manufacturing throughout the past two decades," said House.

"Virtual reality represents a new frontier for gaming, one that will forever change the way users interact with games by giving them deeper feelings of immersion and a true sense of presence inside the virtual environment. Once again PlayStation will be leading the charge of introducing new technology to advance the world of interactive entertainment.

"We believe PlayStation VR is best placed to bring VR to the mainstream given the unparalleled VR experience we're offering at a tremendous value, along with the strength of our ecosystem and the momentum of our brand."

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18 Comments

Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions

210 292 1.4
Surprises? Really? I thought everyone had pegged this price. Plus $60 for the camera.

Posted:4 months ago

#1

Paulmichael Contreras Contributing Editor, PlayStation LifeStyle

13 3 0.2
I think it's a surprise in the sense that Sony actually came in at the price point most everyone saw as being a good value. Personally, I've had the PS Camera for a few years now, and plenty of PS Move controllers for games that use them, and I suspect many gamers are in the same position, so the full price will remain $399 for a large number of PS4 owners.

Posted:4 months ago

#2

Paul Jace Merchandiser

1,177 1,963 1.7
It doesn't seem like that much of a surprise to me. I'd say it's right in line with the other headsets, a bit cheaper because of it's limited console audience. Even at that price I don't expect it to fly off shelves upon launch. It will most likely follow the usual selling curve where the die-hards will pick it up at launch and then it will sit collecting dust on store shelves for 9 months or until Sony announces their first price drop. I also expect Sony to severely limit stock at launch to pre-orders and roughly five units or less per store, taking a page out of the Dead Island marketing playbook.

Posted:4 months ago

#3

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,463 1,828 1.2
It's not just the price that is important here, it is the "on shelves" part that puts Sony ahead already.

Posted:4 months ago

#4

Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online

157 112 0.7
Sony is very smart to announce it now for October. Already some readers in Germany who wanted to go Oculus or Vive are considering a switch.

Remember Saturn and Dreamcast? Just the announcement of a new Sony console was enough to eat severely into their sales even when they were the only ones on the market.

Also, by October, game developers will have had some real world experience with VR titles to apply that knowledge to their PSVR launch titles.

Posted:4 months ago

#5

Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide

72 87 1.2
Finally, Sony release something for the casual market.

This could be a real winner for casual gamers who's PS4's have been collecting dust.

As I can't see anyone wearing this for an hour or more, this wont appeal to hard-core gamers at all (other than an initial novelty) but it might just give the casual gamers a reason to power up their PS4's again (and spend some $$).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Carl Hudson on 16th March 2016 4:58am

Posted:4 months ago

#6
Well all the main VR players have revealed - Oculus' Rift is $1,500 with PC (but will be more like $1,700 with Touch (ballpark $200)). HTC's ViVE is $1,700 with PC; and now Sony's PSVR is $900 (with PS4, camera and Move+).

So regarding mainstream adoption it would seem that Sony will be in the best position, especially with a installed base of some 40m. Will be a very interesting E3!

So will this force Oculus to do a Xbone bundle? And the big question has to be, with some 50 game titles for the end of the year on PSVR has Oculus the ability to keep relevant after the initial shine fades?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 16th March 2016 8:27am

Posted:4 months ago

#7

Nick Parker Consultant

354 248 0.7
The price point is not a surprise as Sony will market VR as a peripheral, as well as a new platform, so expect to see competitive VR/PS4 HW bundles for the holiday season at less than $700. I expect Sony to lead the tethered VR market for years as, even if the addressable market for PS4s is smaller than Steam/PC communities, Sony can switch on the mass market to a high quality VR experience with a different genre of gaming.

The tethered market may not be able to compete with the mobile, untethered sector if Samsung Gear technology offers the same high quality experience. With billions of smartphones to chase, Samsung is well placed to dominate the VR games market if it builds a compelling games roster.

Posted:4 months ago

#8

John Nejady Associate Producer, CCP Games

5 4 0.8
@Richard. - That doesn't make for a very good headline though .

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Nejady on 16th March 2016 10:55am

Posted:4 months ago

#9

robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard

231 137 0.6
Popular Comment
@Nick: just to counter your comments about Samsung Gear... there are several advantages that Sony have with PlayStation VR that others can't compete with:-

- Sony will have no competitors on PS4. No Oculus, Samsung, Glyph, Cardboard or any of the other myriad of VR devices coming to PC/mobile;

- PS4 is fixed hardware - everybody's PS4 is the same (this has always been the advantage with console) ... making it much, much easier for developers to create smooth, immersive experiences;

- PS4 owners are invested in gaming experiences - not all mobile phone or PC owners are;

- PlayStationVR owners can be confident that they won't need to buy further expensive hardware upgrades in the near future;

- the VR experience won't be interrupted by antivirus software, Skype calls, or OS intrusions / slowdowns that would ruin the immersive experience.

Personally, I think Sony will absolutely win the VR war this time around.

Whether or not VR in itself will win? That's another argument... VR is something that I've never believed would become mass-market. certainly not for many years...

Posted:4 months ago

#10

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,463 1,828 1.2
Compatibility of games/experiences will be the issue going forward on PC. There is a risk of the PC platform being split at the expense of both goggles. There aren't any Nvidia or AMD exclusive games on PC for a reason, at best there are some exclusive hair effects. PC developers will surely reign in most of the BS, but when it comes to entertainment and live event broadcasts we probably haven't heard the last of exclusivity deals making people angry on the internet.

All Sony has to do is to take the names of popular IPs and beat the competition to death with it. Seems a simple enough plan for convention season. VR is not just about providing a better, more immediate projection of the player being a race driver or pilot in a space war, it is about the specific brands attached to those dreams. This will give each of Sony's punches that much more weight when leveraging brand nostalgia. If you consider EA's potential strength in that department and reluctance to release PC software on anything but their own Origin platform, you can see where Valve and Facebook are troubled and Sony is not.

XboxOne is down for the count. It had most of its privileges revoked, e.g. making in house developed video games exclusive to only one of Microsoft's platforms and other Xbox-platform protective measures. While Hololens was something to put up against VR at the time, it will not help Xbox going forward. Between Sony, PC and whatever Nintendo comes up with, the XboxOne runs the risk of having all the latest games, while still looking incredibly old at the same time.

Posted:4 months ago

#11

Sandy Lobban , Noise Me Up

379 312 0.8
I'm keen to see if people will use their headsets repetitively when gaming, and after the initial spike of interest. I think this will be decide what the future looks like for VR. My gut instinct tells me its more suited to ad hoc indulgence, as opposed to the dedicated fixed headsets like this. Either way, I think developers are likely to win more than platform holders.

Posted:4 months ago

#12

Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship

277 744 2.7
The Sony offering looks strong to me, the only question I have is whether the screen resolution of Playstation VR is sufficient to mitigate the worst of the screen door effect. Gear VR has impressed me a lot with the quality of the tracking, the resolution could do with some improvement but it's still a great experience.

How does Playstation VR compare?

Posted:4 months ago

#13

Joćo Namorado Project Manager, Portugal Telecom

70 76 1.1
@Nick

I tried the PlayStation VR a few months ago and the experience is solid. I haven't tried the Vive or the final version of the Oculus, so I can't make comparisons, but the PSVR did provide a great experience and very good sense of presence. I could notice the individual leds of the display, but only if I made a real effort to focus on that. It was barely noticeable.

The main issue with VR will be how to get people to try it, apart from tech enthusiasts. You really need to experience it to realize how great it is, regardless of the platform. Otherwise it will be hard to convince people to buy weird expensive helmets. I believe that will be the final obstacle to the wide adoption of VR.

Posted:4 months ago

#14

Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions

210 292 1.4
Thing is Robert ViVE>Oculus>>PSVR. Now that isn't the end, after all betamax was better than VHS. But the question is after the initial thrill it all comes down to the software. Obviously the big players aren't flocking to VR yet, the Battlefront experience will be an interesting test - will people enjoy VR with a much less pretty visual fidelity? Lots of questions and few answers, nobody has monetized VR yet on the software aide other than the usual early "movers".

Posted:4 months ago

#15

robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard

231 137 0.6
@Richard: Vive and Oculus "on what" are better than PSVR though..? Sure, the VR hardware may be richer ... but it's not just about that, it's about what you're plugging the hardware into and how close to the metal you're getting. Vive and Oculus will need to be quite a bit better than PS:VR to overcome the limitations that they're going to have that are largely out of their control. And then there's the matter of price, of course.

Posted:4 months ago

#16

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

511 1,279 2.5
I think it all comes down to who gets and has the Killer App first. I think Sony has a leg up due to price and plug and play hardware, but VR will take off when that Killer App appears, one everyone wants to experience, One that is such an experience you'll see it in headlines , mag covers, news programs, etc etc.

Posted:4 months ago

#17

Adam Campbell Product Executive, Hopster

1,433 1,468 1.0
They said it would be priced like a 'new system' so it is literally the PS4 launch price.

Posted:4 months ago

#18

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