Sony To Mine Virtual Reality Gold
Sony games development chief Shuhei Yoshida is already celebrating as the Japanese company looks set to score a major worldwide hit with the coming launch of its US$399 virtual reality (VR) headset – already claimed to be sold out at retailers round the world.
Attempts at popularising VR headsets by other makers, including efforts by Facebook and Taiwan’s HTC, have resulted in only modest sales – but observers believe Sony may be set to score a major hit,
At Yoshida’s urging, Sony is pricing its hardware well below rivals’ and has the advantage of being able to build an initial user base from the more than 40 million PlayStation 4 owners. The company is also looking for a VR audience that could go far beyond games: into music, sporting events, health and virtual education.
Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai is increasingly relying on Yoshida’s games division to turn the Japanese company around. And this may be working: Sony last year posted its biggest net profit since 2008.
Goldman Sachs Group estimates Sony will sell at least 1.5 million VR headsets this year – and next year Sony is projected to hit 3 million devices, three times as many as HTC’s Vive and six times Facebook’s Oculus sales.