Sony will be pushing their virtual headset as a commercial device after making slower-than-expected progress in the consumer arena.
According to a report by Wall Street Journal, Sony’s video game wing formed a “location-based entertainment” unit tasked with marketing Sony’s headset, the PlayStation VR. The decision has caused speculation that Sony is struggling to hold the attention of consumers after the initial impact brought on by the PlayStation VR has worn off. Sony intends to expand the devices reach into markets such as arcades and theme parks, seeking various partners in Japan.
PlayStation VR was first announced at GDC (Game Developers Conference) in 2014 as Project Morpheus. Sony introduced the device as “the next innovation from PlayStation that will shape the future of games”. The headset was officially named PlayStation VR the following year. The device was brought to multiple events, giving people the chance to demo the new technology with the first demonstration being performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Many critics have praised the device for its comfortable design and quality for its low price point. Since PlayStation VR’s release in October 2016, the VR headset has sold over 900 thousand units at a price of $399. Within less than a year, PlayStation VR has managed to outsell the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, PC’s most powerful VR devices, combined.
Sony stated that 230 developers were actively working on content for PlayStation VR with 50 titles planned to be available by the end of 2017. Non-VR games can be played in a “Cinematic Mode”, rendering the content on a simulated projection screen in a 3D space. PlayStation VR is also capable of displaying 360-degree photos and videos.
Sony stated the sales of PlayStation went beyond expectations but the company is still interested in reaching an even broader audience. Sony has also expressed interest in enabling use of PlayStation VR with a PC, allowing an entirely new audience the chance to use the device.