Sony: PlayStation VR sales 'are on track,' analyst predicts PSVR will outsell Rift and Vive in 2016

Whether or not PSVR got off on the right foot upon release this October depends on who you ask.

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Market research firm SuperData labeled VR headsets the "biggest loser" in sales for 2016, but sees light at the end of the tunnel for Sony's PlayStation VR headset.

Whether or not PSVR got off on the right foot upon release this October depends on who you ask. "The sales of PS VR, which was launched in October, are on track," said Sony CFO Kenchiro Yoshida in an earnings briefing on November 1.

SuperData agrees... kind of. Analysts revised its initial forecast for PSVR sales from a prediction of 2.6 million sold in 2016 down to around 750,000—but that's still a good thing.

Two reasons. First, SuperData held to its projections of 450,000 units sold for HTC Vive and around 355,000 sales for Oculus Rift. That means PlayStation VR sales will far surpass those of the Rift and Vive, provided those prognostications pan out.

Second, Sony's not ready to dive into the deep end of the VR pool. "Had Sony pushed the PSVR the way they've been pushing their other new hardware, the demand would have certainly fulfilled a supply of over 2 million," said SuperData's Stephanie Llamas, head of VR/AR strategy. "However, given its quiet release it's clear they're being cautious before fully investing in the tech."

That analysis lines up with Yoshida's "on track" comment. The theory going around is that Sony is waiting to pull out all the stops to market PSVR until the headset has a killer app, which it doesn't just yet.

Once it does, and assuming that killer app materializes in early 2017, sales forecasts from both Sony and industry pundits could aim much higher.

Craddock's Corner: It's been my pet theory since this summer that PlayStation VR will be many consumers' native voyage into virtual reality. That it's on track to outsell Rift and Vive only makes sense: those headsets cost $600 and $800, respectively, whereas PSVR costs $400. Plus the Rift and Vive require heavy-duty gaming PCs. To use a PSVR, all one needs is any of the three available PS4 models, which are capped at $400.

For $800, the same price as a Vive, one could purchase a PS4 Pro and a PSVR. Sure, the graphical fidelity on a PS4 won't hold up to a high-end PC, but it doesn't need to. All Sony needs is a killer app (Resident Evil 7, perhaps?), and sales will follow.

[Source: CGM]

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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