When the PlayStation VR was introduced, a good number of gamers were quick to air their reservations about the device’s potential for success. Many even dismissed the device as Sony simply pandering to the emerging VR market. Others laughed off the PSVR’s capabilities, stating that there were far too few games that support the technology in the market to warrant a purchase. Four months in, nobody is laughing anymore.
In an interview with the New York Times, chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment Andrew House revealed the PlayStation VR’s surprising sales figures. Since its launch, the PlayStation VR, a $500 accessory to the sub-$300 PlayStation 4, has performed very well, selling 915,000 units during the first four months. Considering that Sony’s initial projection was 1 million units sold for the first six months of the device, it appears that the company, and the gaming world in general, has grossly underestimated the potential of the PlayStation VR headset.
Reservations about the PSVR were abounding in the months leading up to its launch. According to House, he was actually among the people in the company who was not completely confident about the success of the PSVR. The executive stated that he was especially apprehensive with regards to the number of units that Sony must produce during its initial run.
“It’s the classic case in any organization — the guys who are on the front end in sales are getting very excited, very hyped up. You have to temper that with other voices inside the company, myself among them, saying let’s just be a little bit careful.”
As it turned out, House, as well as Sony itself, was far too cautious. Particularly in Japan, the PlayStation VR has been selling better than expected, with the device being out of stock in gaming stores most of the time, according to a Fortune report. Currently, Sony is actually attempting its best to meet the massive demand for the virtual reality headset. According to House, the way things are going, it would be April before the supply of the device would fully meet the market’s demand. Latin America, for one, would probably have to wait until Fall 2017 before the device becomes available in the region.
“You literally have people lining up outside stores when they know the stock is being replenished,” House said.
Sony took a lot of chances when it released the PlayStation VR. Launched last year, the PSVR was revealed to be a premium virtual reality headset that was less powerful than the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive but was far more affordable. Offered at a fraction of the price of its rivals, the PSVR relied on the PS4’s 59 million users to carry the device’s sales forward.
Considering that anyone with a PlayStation 4 could experience premium-grade virtual reality with the PSVR, devices such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, which required a high-end gaming PC to function, simply became far too expensive and less reasonable to warrant a purchase. SuperData research, for one, has stated that the Oculus Rift has sold around 243,000 so far, while the HTC Vive has managed to sell 420,000 by the end of last year.
These numbers, of course, pale in comparison to the PSVR’s sales figures. Couple that with the fact that the PSVR has been on the market for just around four months and the discrepancy among the sales of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony’s VR headset become even more apparent.
Overall, Sony’s gambit appears to have paid off in spades for the Japanese gaming giant. With sales of the PSVR quickly approaching the 1 million mark, there is a pretty good chance that gaming developers would embrace virtual reality even more. Capcom has already started this with its recent Resident Evil: Biohazard VR title, and it has been received extremely well by gamers. If its momentum continues, Sony might very well usher in the virtual reality age with the PlayStation VR.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]