Question: What kind of investment doesn’t make you money?
Answer: Usually, a pretty awful one.
The PlayStation VR will be by far the cheapest full-feature VR gaming headset on the market and it still carries and MSRP of $399. That’s not a bad price point when you compare it to the $599 Oculus Rift or the $799 HTC Vive, but a daunting retail price nonetheless when you consider that you can buy a PS4 Slim and Uncharted 4 for $299.
For early adopters, those with a healthy amount of excess disposable income, and console gamers that can’t wait to get in on VR as soon as possible, the PS VR’s price is not a big deal. For everyone else, the PS VR is simply a luxury. Even if they are interested in the device or the concept, the general thought process of potential PS VR fans on the fence is that it’s better to wait until the price of the device drops and a few more great games are made available.
It’s a pretty understandable mentality. In most cases concerning product purchases, it’s also the correct mentality. The problem with the PlayStation VR, however, is that buying one right now isn’t really a purchase; it’s an investment.
Sony took a big risk in releasing the PlayStation VR. They’re the first console manufacturer to release a native VR device and they’re releasing it at a time when they’re also trying to convince gamers that the upcoming PS4 Pro is going to be a worthy purchase. That’s a lot of money to ask for two products dependent on technology that is, market-wise, somewhat unproven.
The potential pay-off for that risk is tremendous. If VR gaming does prove to be fiscally viable then Sony finds themselves on the ground floor of gaming’s next big thing. They’ll be miles ahead of their console competition and, given the user base of the PS4 and the price of PS VR, potentially ahead of their PC competition as well.
Where do you, the consumer fit into this? Well, at the moment, you have to consider buying a PS VR to be a vote of confidence. You’re not saying that the device, the games, or the technology is exactly where you want it to be, you’re saying that you agree that there is potential in this concept and that you’re so confident it will continue to grow that you’re willing to invest in that future.
There are reasons to buy a PS VR right now. It’s new, it’s cool, there are a couple of killer games at launch, and it’s incredibly fun with friends. Those that expect it to deliver the full potential of the technology right out fo the gate, however, may find that they’ve bought a device that isn’t quite there yet.
Instead, the PS VR should be purchased by those that no only feel that VR has a future, but want to make sure that the technology is given the proper chance to get there.