Sony has cut the price of its PlayStation VR systems, after a holiday sale apparently moved enough units that the company wants to goose them further. Through Saturday, March 3, Sony’s standalone headsets and bundles (See on Amazon) will be just $200, down from the $300 standard price.
Remember, the standalone headset doesn’t include the camera that you actually need to make virtual reality work. To enable that, you need a camera, which is why some of the associated game bundles are a pretty good deal. The Doom VFR Bundle includes the PSVR headset, PlayStation Camera, Sony’s VR Demo Disc 2.0, and Doom VFR itself. Price: $299, down from $399.
If slaughtering demons spawned from the very pits of hell isn’t your style, the Skyrim VR Bundle (the post popular at Christmastime, according to Sony itself), includes the PSVR headset, PlayStation camera, two PlayStation Move controllers (aka the PSWii), the PSVR demo disc 2.0, and Skyrim + all of its add-ons. Total cost? $350.
There’s also a $199 Gran Turismo bundling, but there’s some contradictory information on whether this is the latest version of the PSVR extension unit, which adds the ability to pass-through HDR from the PS4 Pro.
Overall, sales of the PSVR have been quite strong — stronger than many expected. Sony announced in December, before the end of Christmas shopping, that the PSVR had broken two million sales. We don’t know how many additional units the company may have moved in the back half of the Christmas season, but two million units sold outstrips, to the best of our knowledge, any unit sales reported by companies like Oculus or the HTC Vive’s performance.
As much as I genuinely hate to say it, it’s still not clear gaming in VR is any more valued than 3D gaming was. To be clear: I am not saying that VR and 3D were of equal quality. I’ve gamed with both, and VR blows 3D out of the water. It’s not even a contest. But there are plenty of niche technologies that bumped along for years without going mainstream. Mini CDs. LaserDisc. Multi-monitor gaming. 3D itself.
Multi-monitor gaming is generally superior to single displays, though 22:9 ultra-wide monitors address some of that gap. 3D gaming, when properly implemented, was genuinely fun. LaserDisc, while quaint today, offered nearly double the resolution of VHS and certain features that wouldn’t appear in the mainstream market until the advent of DVDs. In each case, there were some specific and particular advantages to each format or gaming mode that were insufficient to move the needle on the larger consumer space.
I’m not saying VR is stuck in that trap. The jury is definitely still out. But it’s not yet clear it’ll ever break through and become a major feature for any system or PC, anywhere.