Now that Sony’s come forward with a price, release window, and other details for the PlayStation 4’s PlayStation VR, it’s easier to see which of the first few consumer virtual reality headsets has a chance of making the biggest splash. While the Oculus Rift has the buzz and the HTC Vive the tech, it now looks like the PS VR is the one that’s going to be the most accessible. This headset is going to be the one that kicks off the VR revolution in our homes.
It all starts with the price. The Oculus Rift is going to be $599. HTC Vives are set at $799. The PS VR is $399. That’s $200 less than the headset everyone has been talking about for the last few years. It’s something ordinary people could afford, if they really wanted to. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are more luxury items.
The plug and play factor is strong with the PS VR too. Do you have a PlayStation 4? Plug in the PS VR and you’re set. That’s it. You can play games and enjoy apps. People who want to use the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive might need to invest in upgrades or perhaps even a whole new computer. They have pretty high requirements, and ordinary folks can’t afford to both upgrade their system and get a headset.
Even the PS VR’s additional requirements aren’t that bad. It needs the PlayStation 4 Camera, which is about another $60, and probably two PlayStation Move controllers. Which is a pain, but there will be a bundle. Or, people can be smart and get cheap, used Move controllers from GameStop or Goodwill (they’re $5-15 on the regular, there). It still ends up being cheaper than the alternative.
There’s also the install base to consider. In January, Sony reported over 35.9 million PS4s had been sold worldwide. It’s the top selling console this generation. A lot of people already own the system, and they’re the sort that may be willing to splurge on a new peripheral that makes their gaming experience even better. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive both tend to require desktop setups. While people serious about their hobby have that, there’s a tendency as of late to focus on laptops for home use. The PS VR has a more solid and ready fanbase to rely upon.
But really, it all comes down to support for people. Sony’s made great strides already in showing how much it’s putting into the PS VR. It’s worked on a lower price point and taken the fear out of new tech by making it accessible. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive haven’t. Plus, we have an alleged 50 games coming for the peripheral, which helps make it more attractive to everyone who has a PS4. There’s a good chance the PS VR is the headset that will convince people to jump on the VR bandwagon, and not the ones for PCs.