Why Sony’s Decision To Not Include A Camera With PSVR Does Not Make Sense From A Consumer Standpoint

The $399 price point “only” applies to a small percentage of the PS4 install base.

Posted By | On 16th, Mar. 2016 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet


Yesterday, Sony announced that their VR headset, PlayStation VR will be available worldwide this October. The pricing is on the lower spectrum compared to other VR hardware providers and it possibly cements Sony’s position as a market leader in the VR industry. However, the PS VR package comes up with an eye popping omission, the PlayStation Camera. The company has made it clear in order to experience PlayStation VR you need to own the camera.

Now, there may be some concern among some fans about the lack of a peripheral that is compulsory to make the headset functional. This concern is quite valid. Sony made it clear later yesterday that they have plans for a bundle for those who plan to pick up the VR headset but don’t have the camera and PlayStation move controller. But this still raises the question…why not include the camera in the basic package itself? Is it true that PlayStation VR is actually not $399 as advertised? Sony’s answer to this is simple. They believe that a lot of people already have the camera.

PlayStation VR

"I wonder how much of a marketing advantage Sony would have lost if they had announced a $449 price point for the complete PlayStation VR experience as opposed to a misleading $399 one where the consumer is forced to buy a bundle or an additional peripheral."

But the big question here is that how many of them actually own the camera? Sony’ haven’t revealed any updated figures about their peripherals so we don’t have any hard numbers. But we can make some educated guesses with the data we have. Back in January of this year, it was revealed that Sony had sold over 36 million consoles, and given the PS4 sales is not slowing down anytime soon, that number has most likely climbed up by another million. During GDC 2014, Sony revealed that they had sold over 6 million PS4s and the PlayStation camera had a 15% adoption rate. This means the camera sold roughly 1 million units almost two years ago. Sony has since sold more than 30 million units of the PlayStation 4.

Now it’s difficult to decipher whether the same adoption rate of 15% for the camera is valid today. It could be less or it could be more. But given how most market trends work it’s most likely the former since there weren’t actually any games developed with the camera in mind. So even if we drop the adoption rate by half i.e. 8% for the last two years, the PlayStation Camera has sold more or less 2.5 million units in that period. Of course this percentage is an assumption but it’s a fair one since we have reduced the factor by 50%. This means we are looking at around 3-4 million PlayStation Cameras out there in the hands of the consumer. Now this is a fairly big market for a mere peripheral but still very small compared to the PS4 install base.

It may make sense for Sony to not bundle the camera with the basic package since it’s likely some of that 3-4 million base will buy a PlayStation VR and technically speaking it makes no sense to offer them an extra peripheral. But keep in mind this install base is a mere percentage of the PS4 and Sony should ideally cater to the majority who don’t have a camera.

PlayStation-Camera1

"This is essentially saying, “we are launching a new console, but you have to buy the controller separately. If you can’t we will provide an additional bundle”. Given how Sony is pushing PS VR as a platform and not as a mere peripheral, this decision does sound drastically out of place."

This means that for the majority of the install base, you aren’t technically getting the full VR experience for $399. This is essentially saying, “we are launching a new console, but you have to buy the controller separately. If you can’t we will provide an additional bundle”. Given how Sony is pushing PS VR as a platform and not as a mere peripheral, this decision does sound drastically out of place. Ideally Sony should have announced the complete package before the standalone headset unit. From a consumer perspective, the cost price of $399 is clear cut, misleading advertising for those who don’t have the camera.

I wonder how much of a marketing advantage Sony would have lost if they had announced a $449 price point for the complete PlayStation VR experience as opposed to a misleading $399 one where the consumer is forced to buy a bundle or an additional peripheral.

Granted that Sony is making sure that VR gaming becomes mainstream with its lower price initiative and I appreciate them for taking such steps. It will no doubt be a resounding success for the company and nothing is better than the industry progressing ahead. But the way they have announced their SKUs and pricing point is indeed surprising, specially given that they are literally leading from the front this console generation.

Long story short. The PlayStation VR isn’t $399 as advertised, at least for the majority of PlayStation owners.

But what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

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  • J.j. Barrington

    It doesn’t make sense for EVERY consumer, because not EVERY consumer has the camera.

    However, there are MANY who already do. It makes no sense for them to have to buy the camera AGAIN.

    Makes more sense to have the camera separate, doesn’t it?

    • Truth™ PSVR 960×1080®

      Enjoy your NSA Spy Cam 🙂

    • copycat

      If that’s how you play it then enjoy YOUR “NSA Spy Cam” on your smart phone.

    • Papi1on

      Why cater to the minority with the main SKU?

    • J.j. Barrington

      Because retailers already have cameras and can bundle it, themselves?

    • Gamez Rule

      Why can’t some people understand that. lol

      I have the PS-Camera, I have 4 x PS-Move controllers, I have 4 x PS4 Controllers, I have 2 x headsets. So all I need is the basic PSVR bundle to starting using VR-Games.

      If people do not have anything then shops can do store deals for customers, or just buy the PSVR / PS4 bundle that suits you.

      Sony have made the right choices as PSVR is being sold out all over the place. The PS4 Camera / PS-Move are selling like hot cakes to, so people are making a CHOICE on what they are buying which is what Sony wanted along.

      If people don’t need the basic PSVR bundle don’t buy it. Wait until there is a bundle that suits your needs. YOU have the choice.

      Meanwhile…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2Ra24FLgzE

  • Gamez Rule

    It makes perfect sense for Sony to not bundle the camera with the basic package as many gamers that use PS4 have the camera already as well as PS-Move and a PS4 controller☺.

    This is why Sony are doing PSVR bundles to suit gamers needs.

    Also many places have sold out of PSVRs already, this shows Sony made the right choices lol

    • Papi1on

      Most PS4 owners do not have the camera

    • Gamez Rule

      And yet loads do have the camera. But from the Amazon sales people are grabbing all the bits needed for PSVR and the camera sales are up by 975%

    • J.j. Barrington

      The camera, already being on shelves, can be acquired for cheap fairly easily right now. With this thing not coming until October, NOT bundling the camera actually gives people incentive to pick it up early and perhaps discover the other uses for it.

  • copycat

    Remembered when they bundled games with the console even after they released the base price for the console? Even if they release a headset without the camera what makes you think that Sony isn’t going to release a bundle…
    It’s not even a big deal. You’re just blowing it out of purportion.

    • Papi1on

      It’s clearly stated in the article that they know Sony will release a bundle with camera.
      That isn’t what this is about. It’s about marketing the device as $400 when really for the majority of consumers it’s $450

    • J.j. Barrington

      The device IS $400. It’s not $450. That’s including another device, entirely.

    • Papi1on

      I guess Sony should leave the DS4 out of the box when they sell playstations then.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Right, because the DS4 was originally meant to be played with some other device, and was later repurposed to be used with the PS4…

    • Romelia Finch

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    • J.j. Barrington

      Thanks, Romelia.

    • Papi1on

      No. But you can’t use the PS4 without the controller, just as you can’t use the VR without the camera.

  • red2k

    It’s misleading but I think the worst part isn’t the price will be the quality of the content.

    • J.j. Barrington

      How is it misleading? It’s not as if they’re hiding the fact that you need the camera.

    • kma99

      You’re giving people way to much credit. The average consumer is dumb

    • J.j. Barrington

      Not THAT dumb.

    • lagann

      It’s not misleading in the sense that they are lying to the consumer…its just a pr move to say that their vr solution is cheaper than it actually is.

      Not really a big deal but if you cant see they are playing the numbers game then you are blind.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Weird, cuz I don’t see any other manufacturer of ANYTHING catching flak for not including the price of EVERYTHING in their product. Be it cars or just consoles, they give a base price. Nobody mentions, “Oh, but you’ll need to add on X, T, and R for a grand total of M dollars.” Not even the other VR sets are doing that, are they?

    • Papi1on

      the other vr sets include the sensors that are needed for head-tracking

    • lagann

      Does the psvr work without the camera? no

      This is akin to the Rift not bundling their camera (yes, their system also requires the use of a camera for it to work) and pricing the Rift $50 cheaper….just for the sake of artificially lowering the price of the vr device.

      Its a numbers game. Anyone can see that. I don’t know why you are so defensive about it. Instead of claiming $150 cheaper than the competition….$200 cheaper than the competition sounds a lot nicer.

    • J.j. Barrington

      It would be the same… if the Rift’s camera were already a standalone product that had been on the market for years.

      Oh, by the way, there IS a camera-included bundle.

    • red2k

      The price do not include the camera. They are sponsoring a tricky price tag. It’s like sell a console without controls.

    • J.j. Barrington

      How is it tricky?

  • Cabal

    Not an issue.

    If there a few those who want PSVR bad enough but don’t already have move and/or the camera, they’ll either get the bundle or pick up the extras in advance either preowned or new.

    I think Sony made the right move by at least giving consumers the option.

    • Papi1on

      This isn’t about having options, it’s about Regular Joe budgeting for his shiny new $399 PSVR and getting home to find that he owes Sony another $45 just to use it.

    • Cabal

      Well they’re being quite clear about it, aren’t they?

    • Gamez Rule

      And IF Sony didn’t do a bare-bone deal on PSVR and made everyone pay for everything people will still moan lol

      PS4 with full PSVR with everything needed would make people go mad at Sony lol….Sony has made the right choices ( shown by sales ) by doing what they have done

    • elnino

      it’s funny that all those who complain and find negatives are the ones who would have never bought it anyway

    • Papi1on

      That’s assuming a lot

    • J.j. Barrington

      Regular Joe isn’t as stupid as to completely miss the very noticeable word that the camera is both required and not included in the basic bundle.

      You guys are trying way too hard to find negatives where there are none.

  • awng0781

    Absolutely agree with this article.

  • Riley Freeman

    i have it and it just collects dust. i dont know anyone else that has it so i would bet there adoption rate is less than 15%.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Thank goodness your experience is considered the norm. I know four people that got it at launch, and another six who got it once it got real cheap.

      But your experience is definitely the one that matters most.

  • Dotcum22

    Yay some negative PSVR news come on fanboys unleash your hate and jealousy on it !!! Drown Sony his succes in your hate and bitterness you can do it!

  • Melon Farmer

    Why Sony’s Decision To Not Include A Camera With PSVR Does Not Make Sense From A Consumer Standpoint

    This explains why PSVR sold out in minutes yesterday at Amazon.uk

    Oh, wait…


 

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