Sony is drastically scaling back its sales expectations for next month’s launch of the PlayStation VR2 headset, according to a Bloomberg report citing “people familiar with [Sony’s] deliberations.”
The PlayStation 5 maker now expects to sell just 1 million PSVR2 units by the end of March, down from sales expectations of 2 million units in that period, as reported last October. Sony expects to sell about 1.5 million more headsets in the following fiscal year, which ends in March 2024, according to the report.
The scaled-back sales expectations would put the PSVR2 slightly ahead of the pace set by the original PSVR headset, which sold just under a million units in its first four months and 2 million units in just over a year. But that kind of sales pace looks less impressive today, when a headset like the Meta Quest 2 can sell a reported 2.8 million units in its first quarter, on its way to total sales of over 15 million, according to market analysis firm IDC.
The Quest 2 has a few key advantages in the competition with Sony’s upcoming headset, including an asking price that’s $150 less, even after a recent price hike. The self-contained Quest 2 also doesn’t need to be tethered to any external hardware, contrasting with the PSVR2’s reliance on a hookup to a $499 PlayStation 5.
Despite the Quest 2’s success at its relatively low price, though, the VR industry at large seems to be moving toward the higher end of the pricing spectrum these days. Meta’s Quest Pro launched last October at a bafflingly high $1,499, though a one-week sale has slashed that price by $400 for the moment. And next month’s standalone Vive XR Elite will cost $1,099.
The first PSVR headset eventually sold at least 5 million units to a base of 106 million PS4 owners as of the end of 2019. If the PSVR2 sells at that same rate, that will represent just 1.4 million sales to the current crop of about 30 million PS5 owners (though both sales figures will presumably continue to increase with time, especially now that the PS5 should be easier to find on store shelves).
Add in a launch lineup that includes a lot of warmed-over VR titles ported from other platforms, and the PSVR2 seems poised to once again be more like the niche Sega CD than a strong and self-sufficient platform of its own. Or, as Macquarie Capital analyst Damian Thong put it to Bloomberg, “The PSVR2 will be no more than an expensive accessory for the PS5.”