OPINION

Playstation VR 2: Are we in for a price shock?

Playstation VR 2: Are we in for a price shock?

Playstation VR 2 is a next-generation VR system. The PS5 accessories could be expensive accordingly. Especially in these times.

By now, we know almost everything about Playstation VR. We know the design and specifications and that the VR headset will be released in early 2023.

One big secret remains to be revealed. The price of the Playstation VR 2, which is likely to go on sale together with the new Sense controllers, remains unknown.

There is plenty of speculation about the price. Estimates vary widely but, currently, the writing on the wall predicts Playstation VR 2 will be a luxury accessory.

The world in a state of emergency

That a PS5 accessory will be more expensive than the Playstation 5 itself would be highly unlikely under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, normal circumstances do not prevail at the moment.

The global economy is suffering from inflation, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the aftermath of the pandemic. This is still particularly true of the tech supply chain. For these reasons, Sony increased the price of the Playstation 5 in many regions. If Sony is forced to increase the price of the Playstation 5, what does the price pressure look like for a niche accessory like the Playstation VR 2?

The price of the Meta Quest 2 also went up, by a whopping $100. As of August, the basic model of the VR headset costs $400 instead of $300. The reasons are the same: rising inflation and increased production costs.

Next-gen features have their price

I think Playstation VR 2 will cost at least $500 – if not more.

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It’s true that unlike Meta Quest 2, Sony’s VR headset doesn’t require an SoC or battery, and costs less in that area. But Playstation VR 2 has other expensive tech built in that Meta Quest 2 lacks: a high-quality OLED display, eye-tracking, and headset haptics. These are features that no other mainstream headset offers.

Meta sells Casual VR, while Sony offers next-generation premium VR. These are two entirely different devices, which should also be reflected in the price.

Of course, Sony could decide to push the price down and take losses in hopes that Playstation VR 2 sells plenty of games. But is that likely given the current economic climate, growing pressure from competitor Microsoft, and the fact that virtual reality is still a niche and a quick breakthrough is unlikely?

Playstation VR was not cheap either

Even the first Playstation VR wasn’t cheap, although its technology – unlike PSVR2 – was already partially outdated compared to other VR headsets from 2016 when it was launched. The VR headset itself cost “only” $399, but it lacked a PS camera and Move controllers, which you had to buy if you didn’t already own them. In 2017, a complete VR package appeared in the US – for $499.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine that the Playstation VR 2 with cutting-edge technology and brand-new VR controllers will cost less than $500. It is quite possible that the price will be lowered later. The PSVR 1 was just about dumped by Sony at the end of its life cycle. But that remains to be seen, because the price development also depends on demand.

The total package of PS5 and PSVR 5 could end up costing around $1,000. That wouldn’t surprise me. High-end VR has its price. Especially in these times.