Sony is betting big on another VR headset with an increased production schedule - BNN Bloomberg

Sony is betting big on another VR headset with an increased production schedule – BNN Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — Sony Group Corp. plans to produce 2 million units of the PlayStation VR2 headset by March next year, people familiar with the matter said, setting an ambitious outlook that defies global economic malaise.

Mass production of the virtual reality glasses began in September and has not yet faced supply chain constraints, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Production figures could be adjusted depending on the pace of sales of the device once it is released early next year.

Sony shares rose 2.4% in Tokyo on Monday, the biggest jump in six weeks.

VR glasses remain a largely unproven category several years after the widespread availability of commercial offerings from HTC Corp. and Oculus, which are now part of Meta Platforms Inc. Sony’s plan for the PSVR2 assumes much greater popularity than the company’s previous PlayStation VR glasses. for the PlayStation 4 – which took eight months to reach a million sales. Meta’s Quest 2, the most popular VR headset today, sold 2.8 million units in its first quarter of availability, according to IDC.

Sony has yet to announce an official price or release date for the PSVR2. Its current plan to start selling the headset in early 2023 will coincide with the expected removal of supply chain bottlenecks preventing the availability of the PlayStation 5 console from its launch in late 2020, the people said. This would give the company enough stock of both headsets and consoles for a big marketing push. Users will need a PS5 console to use the VR headset.

A spokesperson for Sony Interactive Entertainment declined to comment.

“The key to success is the quality of games that Sony will be able to develop,” said analyst Serkan Toto of Tokyo-based Kantan Games. “Another critical point will be price: in terms of specs, the PSVR2 is a beast and some users are already expecting it to cost as much as the PS5 itself.”

Game developers remain skeptical of the VR segment due to its relative lack of market penetration, especially in Sony’s home turf of Japan. IDC estimates that Meta’s Quest 2 has sold 17 million units to date and is lauded as the pinnacle of the sector, but it pales in comparison to other products in the console, mobile and PC gaming arenas.

The economic slowdown and increased material costs following the Russian invasion of Ukraine have also affected the VR sector. Meta raised the price of Quest 2 in August in response to rising production costs.

“The rising cost of living is forcing many consumers to spend on non-essential items,” said IDC vice president of data and analytics Francisco Jeronimo. “If the economic crisis deepens, Sony may have to cut production.”

Sony’s suppliers and partners are unsure how long the Japanese company will maintain its rapid production schedule after launch.

Sony plans to support the PSVR2 launch with new VR titles from its popular in-house franchises such as Horizon, and has said that more than 20 titles from in-house and third-party game developers are in development for the device.

(Update with analyst comment in the seventh paragraph)

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