‘If I get a ‘dumbed down’ version of it for $500, instead of a super high quality one for $1500, I’ll take the $500 version all day long.’
With the pricing details for Oculus Rift and Valve and HTC’s Vive, all eyes are now on Sony- the last of the big three VR vendors has not yet announced launch or pricing details for their upcoming PlayStation VR headset. But Michael Pachter, the analyst at Wedbush Securities who is well known in the video game world thanks to his predictions about all things gaming, believes that we are due to get some final concrete information on the headset some time soon- and that, if Sony price the headset right, it could dominate the nascent market for VR solutions entirely.
“I think that PlayStation VR will be a big deal [at Sony’s E3 this year],” Pachter said to GamingBolt. “They’re showing it at GDC, hands on, and we’ve all seen it a bunch. I would imagine E3, that would be their big announcement. So you’re gonna have Oculus, and Vive in the marketplace by E3, and I think that Sony is kind of under the gun to announce pricing. So I think that will be the biggest announcement from Sony at E3.”
Pachter went on to say that if Sony prices it under $500, they could have the lion’s share of the VR market.
“I’ve said it before, if it’s under $500, it’s going to be a bargain, and it’s going to probably take ton of share,” he said. “Because obviously, if you’re one of the 35 million, now probably closer 40 million, PS4 owners, you can buy a PSVR headset, and that will work out of the box.”
But don’t Oculus Rift and HTC Vive justify their costs by being far better, more high end, premium VR experiences? Pachter does not necessarily think so.
“A lot of people push back, and say that it’s underpowered… but, you know, and I’ll have a better feel for this next week when i get my hands on it at GDC, but I don’t think most consumers really care. I think VR is fun, and it’s novel, and the point is, if I get a ‘dumbed down’ version of it for $500, instead of a super high quality one for $1500, I’ll take the $500 version all day long.
“And I frankly think that VR now is still just a novelty… I mean, there’s nothing in VR yet that I look at and feel that I must have, and it’s a lot easier to spend $500 on something like that just for the novel experience, than $1500.”
In a sense, Pachter is right- the market has historically shown that it’s willing to settle for ‘good enough’ for a cheaper price. That’s why the Wii dominated last generation, that’s why mobile games do so well against their handheld game counterparts. So yes, I can see PlayStation VR dominate the Oculus and the Vive, at a cheaper price of entry upfront, and without the requirement for a high end rig.
Of course, will it be priced at the requisite sweet spot price? Pachter thinks that price is $500 or below – but will Sony price it that low? We’ll find out soon. In a few hours, Sony will show off the PSVR at GDC in depth– hopefully, pricing details are finally announced then.