PlayStation chief Andrew House told The New York Times late last week that PlayStation VR has sold 915,000 units as of February 19. That puts the device on a path to exceed the company’s goal of one million sold in the first six months.
It’s not difficult to meet expectations when they’re set low, and Sony was clearly cautious when it came to making projections for the success of its new virtual reality technology. PSVR has been hard to find ever since it released last fall, with waves of pre-orders selling out quickly in the lead up to its release. In the months since it came out, getting the full bundle, including the headset, camera, and Move controllers, hasn’t been easy.
“You literally have people lining up outside stores when they know stock is being replenished,” House told the Times. That was the scene in at major retailers in Japan last month when stores had to create raffles to see who would purchase their available stock. This took the company by suprise, apparently. “We were expecting it to be a lot smaller than it has turned out to be,” said House in the interview.
While Sony’s biggest competitors in the virtual reality market, Facebook’s Oculus and HTC’s Vive, haven’t released sales figures, The New York Times reports that the analysts at SuperData Research have estimated sales of 243,000 for the Oculus and 420,000 for the Vive. That would put PSVR ahead of both combined, which shouldn’t be very surprising considering it’s cheaper than both and can work using the PS4 instead of requiring a higher-end, stand-alone PC.
To put the PSVR sales numbers in perspective, PS4 sold over 5.3 million units in its first three months and before it had even been released in Japan. While the device has sold better than Sony predicted, it’s unclear how much of that is because of higher than expected demand or simply because the company was never especially bullish on the new technology to begin with. PSVR notably lacked a meaningful presence at Sony’s PlayStation Experience event last December, and the original torrent of games releasing for the hardware has slowed to a trickle.
Earlier this month, the head of PlayStation UK, Warwick Light, put forward a more optimistic view in an interview with GamesIndustry,
“Anyone that puts on a VR headset... their minds start racing on what the possibilities are for this technology. As those experiences start to come online, it will create a stickiness for PlayStation VR.”
Meanwhile, plenty of people who already own PSVR are looking for news that there will be more reasons to dust off their headset in the coming year. Resident 7 notably featured support for virtual reality to interesting effect, but it’s the exception rather than the norm. And while Final Fantasy XV will eventually have virtual reality content, the game’s director said earlier this month that it’s still to early to say when that will be available.