In a recent interview, SIE’s head of global business described Playstation VR 2 as a “challenging category”.
Sony announced a new sales milestone on Wednesday: Playstation 5 has sold 50 million units since its launch roughly three years ago. But while the PS5 is currently flying high and beating the competition in terms of sales and revenue, surprisingly little is being said about the Playstation VR 2.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Eric Lempel, SIE’s head of global business, was asked about the VR system. “It’s a bit of a challenging category right now,” Lempel said, even though the company’s own sales are “going well” according to Lempel. Sony would remain committed to VR products, but the executive added: “I think there was a higher expectation generally for what VR would do to gaming.”
A slow burn for Playstation VR 2
In October, Lempel described the VR category as “important to us”, but admitted that, unlike PS5, it was not Sony’s “core proposition” this season. Lempel is being touted as a candidate to become the next Playstation CEO. Jim Ryan will step down in March 2024.
Playstation VR 2 was released in February and sold 600,000 units in its first six weeks, slightly outperforming the original, which was released in October 2016. Sony failed to break the one million mark in the following holiday season. After several price cuts, the device reached two million sales in December 2017. In total, Sony has sold more than five million units.
It will be interesting to see if Sony will announce sales figures for the Playstation VR 2 after this holiday season. Anything else would be a troubling sign for the VR system.
The market situation is different to 2016
Market research company Omdia estimates that PSVR 2 is selling more slowly than its predecessor. A lack of major titles and Sony’s focus on other PS5 accessories such as Playstation Portal are cited as reasons.
The first Playstation VR benefited from a hype around VR and a lack of competition. In 2016, Sony’s device was the most affordable VR headset on the market. Things are different in 2023: Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest 3 are both cheaper and also don’t require a console or wire.
The Playstation VR 2 still costs $550, which is more than the PS5 itself, and the only big exclusive title for the VR headset released this Christmas is Resident Evil 4 VR Mode.
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