Following disappointing early preorders of the PlayStation VR2, Sony has reportedly reduced sales projections for its new virtual reality headset scheduled to launch on February 22. The company had originally forecasted a quarterly shipment of two million units. However, in light of the disappointing preorders, it has apparently revised its forecast by half and is now set to ship one million units.
According to Bloomberg, the multinational conglomerate has already informed one of its supplying partners to anticipate fewer orders than originally planned.
However, Sony has reportedly denied Bloomberg’s claims. According to a GamesIndustry, the company claims it is "seeing enthusiasm from PlayStation fans for the upcoming launch". Given the fact that news of the company cutting its production projections wiped off the gains its stock had made before it came to light, it is hardly surprising the company is rebutting the report.
Preorders for the PlayStation VR2 headset began last November. Usually, gaming gadgets that interest consumers are soon inundated with high demands such that stores are forced to maintain a waitlist for the devices. However, the PSVR2 is not getting the same treatment. Even though the gadget is less than a month away, many stores are still conveniently taking orders, which indicates that there is simply not enough interest in the device.
Consumers’ lackluster attitude to the PSVR2 is likely the result of two primary factors: the gadget’s steep price and the fact it is exclusive to the PlayStation 5. While the PSVR2’s introductory price of $549 seems reasonable for its hardware, the Meta Quest 2 carried an introductory price of $299 when it launched in late 2020.
Plus, the PSVR2 is only compatible with the PlayStation 5 console, which automatically excludes interested customers who use other consoles, including previous generations of the PlayStation itself.
Another possible reason for the low preorders is the fact that the market for virtual reality headsets is not what it used to be. Recently, consumers have shown less interest than before. For instance, the demand for the devices dived in 2022 when compared to its 2021 levels, although they are expected to make a comeback in 2023. Meta was not immune, despite its incredible market share in the VR industry, with consumer interest in the Quest 2 cooling following a recent price hike.
One of the reasons identified for the drop in demand is a lack of interesting titles that will engage users. The fact that Sony will be releasing close to a dozen titles for the PSVR2 doesn’t seem to make much difference.
Besides, game developers are not fully convinced the virtual reality industry is profitable enough to justify the investment. In explanation, Kenji Fukuyama, a UBS Securities Analyst quoted in the Bloomberg article, stated, "That platform is not attractive for software makers to create games because it doesn’t promise strong sales. Augmented or mixed reality, not virtual reality, may turn out to be the future."
Nevertheless, the dim future of the VR industry does not discourage operators in the space, with component suppliers continuing to invest heavily in their technologies. Also, Apple is moving forward with the launch of its VR/AR headset later in the year. The device, likely to be called Reality Pro, will reportedly retail for more than $2,000 due to its high-end hardware and ambitious offerings.