With just weeks to go before the first orders of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive find their way into buyers’ living rooms, Sony is sending out press invitations for a special event highlighting the PlayStation VR to be held on March 15 in San Francisco
The event is taking place during the 2016 Game Developers Conference and will begin at 2:00 PM PST followed by a few hours of demos. Last year, Sony used the conference event to give updates on its VR platform, which was then called “Project Morpheus.”
There’s still a decent amount we don’t know regarding the final release, chief of which are price and release date. Sony has yet to dial in on specifics but the company last referenced the first half of 2016 as a likely timeframe for the release of the headset. In terms of price, Bloomberg quoted Sony exec Andrew House as saying that the device would be priced as a “new gaming platform.”
Price may likely be the main headline to jump out from this event (if we hear it). With the Oculus Rift priced at $599 and the HTC Vive just recently revealed to cost $799, there’s plenty of room for Sony to cement itself as a more approachable option.
One factor driving that is the fact that many of the necessary peripherals for PSVR have already been on the market for a bit and aren’t all that costly. It’s also worth noting that current versions of the device sit a step below Rift and Vive in terms of resolution but will be driven by the PS4 which could serve as both a major asset and liability.
The PS4 is a major advantage to the headset in many ways because there are already 36 million VR-compatible PS4 consoles out in the wild right now. Sony also already has the benefit of controlling an ecosystem that console gamers have been fully invested in for decades. Sony owning both the headset and the brains powering it will be a score for consumers who won’t have to worry whether their specific rig can support the latest particularly demanding VR title. On the other hand, this will also be a limiting factor for developers really wanting to push the limits of the VR platform given the PS4’s lack of upgradability.
It will be interesting to see what Sony ends up revealing at the event and what arsenal of features/titles/specs they will call up to shift consumer attention toward their VR headset. TechCrunch will be at the press event typing and tweeting furiously, so stay tuned.