Sony had said to have sold up to 915,000 of its virtual reality headsets during the first four months of its availability, the company told The New York Times. This could come as a big improvement to software developers, who have been reconsidering their virtual reality plans after many had failed to recover the cost of making early titles.
As said by CNBC, neither Oculus nor HTC have given firm sales numbers for their VR headsets, but officials at all of the major VR companies have warned investors and analysts to expect a slow ramp in sales. Sony had a notable advantage in the VR game, though. PlayStation VR was not only $100-$300 less than its competitors, it didn’t require buyers to purchase new hardware to run it. And with more than 53.4 million PlayStation 4 units’ already in people’s homes, that made the VR headset more enticing. Japan has proven to be an especially hot spot for VR, with people lining up outside of stores when new shipments are expected. That’s likely to be especially gratifying for game makers, as the Japanese game market has been shrinking in recent years.
Analysts, though, warn that while it’s good to see Japan pick up, the success of VR — both from Sony and its competitors — in North America is still uncertain. “It’s unclear how it’s selling in Western markets,” says Ben Schachter of Macquarie Capital. “That’s not necessarily a negative, but the Western companies do not seem to be benefiting from it.”
“We’re still waiting for that killer app,” said Schachter. “Most of the things people are seeing on VR is giving them a ‘gee whiz’ feeling for 15 minutes, then you don’t want to do it anymore. … Think about ‘Wii Sports.’ That one little tennis game sold 100 million units. And VR doesn’t have that yet.”