Sony has cut down the orders for Playstation VR 2 by half, from their initial plans of 2 million units, to only one million units this year.
Bloomberg reports that Sony made the decision after seeing the disappointing pre-orders they received for the new device. It is believed that Sony’s commitment to VR is not as strong as other VR companies, such as Oculus VR, HTC, or Magic Leap. The company is placing big bets on VR only because they want to be the market leader before the technology hits it big with consumers.
Sony is believed to be the most successful VR manufacturer so far, in the English speaking markets, having successfully sold one million units of the first PlayStation VR.
However, their upcoming PlayStation VR 2 will not be backwards compatible with the original PSVR’s games. This places a huge burden particularly on PSVR’s early adopters, as they will have to keep both their PSVR hardware on top of getting the PSVR2, if they want to keep playing those original games they enjoyed.
It’s not great news for the company, after they had invested in PSVR 2 enough to build Horizon Call of the Mountain, a new game in the Horizon franchise that is exclusive and is a launch title for the platform.
While VR received a lot of hype as an emerging video game market in the last few years, the costly barrier to entry has kept most consumers from trying it. This starts a chicken-and-egg dilemma for VR companies, because they don’t have enough players to play their games en masse, when acquiring such a player base could steer the market to the kinds of games they want to play .
Even if you could afford to buy VR yourself, other barriers to entry still hold you back. Most VR setups require you set aside dedicated space that you then have to prepare to play VR. There are also safety and disability concerns for players who can injure themselves while immersed in VR experiences. On a fundamental level, some people may simply be unable to play VR, as they can cause headaches, sight problems, and other health conditions.
With all these qualifications in mind, VR did still seem to be making money before the pandemic hit. It may have continued to be feasible if the pandemic and subsequent global economic crisis never happened. As things stand, VR could be facing a large industry retraction this year.