Update February 1, 2023, 5:36 am
In a statement to Gamesindustry.biz, Sony has refuted Bloomberg’s report from yesterday afternoon. That report indicated the tech giant had slashed its forcast shipments of PSVR 2 following slower-than-expected preorders. Per GI.biz, Sony says it is “seeing enthusiasm from PlayStation fans for the upcoming launch, which includes more than 30 titles such as Gran Turismo 7, Horizon Call of the Mountain, and Resident Evil Village.”
Bloomberg is standing by its story and has updated its piece overnight to include further reporting.
Original story follows.
Sony has reportedly halved its forecast shipments of the PlayStation VR 2, which is set to launch on February 22, after preorders for the device failed to match expectations.
The news comes from a Bloomberg report this afternoon that details the thinking behind the move. Per Bloomberg, Sony has cut the number of units it expects to ship this quarter to around a million units, down from the roughly 2 million it had expected to ship. As for why it has adjusted these targets, it appears that preorders for the PSVR 2 have been coming more slowly than Sony had predicted.
There are numerous ways to explain this. The primary issue is that the cost of securing a complete PSVR 2 set up is proving to be a turn-off. The device itself costs $879.95 in Australia (or $959.95 for the Horizon: Call of the Mountain bundle). The PSVR 2 only works with a PlayStation 5 (a further $799, should you not already own a console) and is not backwards compatible with any games from Sony’s previous generation of VR hardware. In terms of public perception, these factors alone have given the product a rather steep mountain to climb.
A quick call around local stockists by Kotaku Australia this afternoon reveals that stores like EB Games and JB Hi-Fi are taking preorders without any waitlists. PSVR 2 stock is plentiful and readily available. This stands in stark contrast to the frequent madness of the last two years, where PS5 hardware drops sold out in seconds, and waitlists stretched on for months.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, Sony may have hoped that must-play titles like Horizon: Call of the Mountain (and around 36 other launch titles) would get consumers excited for the device. Unfortunately, without backwards compatibility on owned titles, customers would need to buy new games for device, further increasing its already significant outlay. At a certain point, it all just gets a bit beyond what the average household can afford.
Of course, Sony is far from the only tech giant with an expensive VR headset, nor are they alone in finding the marketing bruising. Sony would have been aware that bringing a new VR headset to market in 2023 could be an uphill battle. To say that the VR space has been struggling to hold the public’s interest over the last few years would be to understate the situation. Interest in VR and AR headsets seems to have faltered rather badly in 2022, but according to market intelligence firm IDC, the space is set to enjoy a growth in shipments this year of up to 32%. Meta’s Quest range, of course, dominates the space with affordable, self-contained (though lower-spec) headsets that can be used easily in the home. Even it had to raise its prices last year as belts tightened. At the same time, Microsoft pulled back from its longrunning HoloLens AR project for similar reasons. It seems Sony is now grappling with that same lack of demand.
VR is a tough business. Sony knew that the first time around, and I’m sure it knew the risks this time around.
On the plus side, if you are keen to secure preorders on a PSVR 2, you won’t have any trouble doing so.