The Oculus Rift finally got an initial price point yesterday, serving up a healthy dose of sticker shock for folks who thought the device would only set them back a few hundred dollars. According to a recent report, however, Sony’s own virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR, might come in at a lower price point than its most direct competitor.
According to a recent report put out by independent research group SuperData, the PlayStation VR is likely to hit store shelves at a price point of between $400 and $600. The original report is called “Virtual Reality Market Brief,” and can be found in full here. SuperData isn’t really coming out of left field here, as that’s the price range many have been predicting for the past year. Now that the Oculus Rift has been announced for $600, it’s seeming more likely that the predicted range for PlayStation VR is likely right on the money.
In case you missed the news from yesterday’s CES roundup, the Oculus Rift will cost a pretty penny. A gamer could buy a half-decent computer or a current gen console and several games for that same $600, after all. Still, when you consider all of the snazzy tech crammed into Oculus’ headset, it’s not too surprising that the developer is starting out so high.
According to the recent estimates from SuperData, though, Sony might aim a bit lower for its own headset, despite the fact that it appears to be able to run the exact same software. Sure, their estimated price range butts up against the precedence now set by Oculus, but there’s a chance we might see the PSVR come in at a couple hundred dollars cheaper.
What’s interesting here is the fact that Sony chose not to discuss the PlayStation VR at CES, despite the fact that the headset is due out during the first half of this year. There’s probably a good reason for that. For starters, if Sony announced launch details, the PSVR would have shared headlines with Oculus. Secondly, the publisher has already done a great job of throwing PSVR games in our faces over the past couple of months, so many gamers are already excited for the thing.
More importantly, though, is the fact that Sony and Oculus have basically been playing a game of chicken, seeing which company would blink first when it comes to a price point. By waiting to see how the internet reacted to the Oculus news yesterday, Sony may have a bit of wiggle room to adjust its plan for the PSVR launch. Maybe Sony was planning on a $600 launch initially but, after some negative reactions to the Oculus news, they might decide to come in at, say $500. Even that small of a savings would translate to positive buzz despite the fact that we’re still talking about a lot of money for the average gamer.
To their credit, Sony has done their best to prepare folks for this VR future, going so far as to announce that their own headset was being treated as a unique console launch and, due to the technology, would bear a similar price point.
The final advantage that Sony has is its install base. No matter what the PSVR costs, you’re ready to roll if you’ve already got a PlayStation 4 in your home. Many folks looking to get a Rift, however, will likely need to get a more up-to-date computer on top of the VR headset.