PlayStation VR Becomes A Surprise Hit For Sony With Nearly 1 Million Units Sold

Anticipating demand is not easy. Just ask Nintendo, which grossly underestimated how many gamers would be interested in its NES Classic Edition console. And then there is Sony with its PlayStation VR. Not only did Sony have to anticipate demand for a new product, but it had to factor in how popular VR gaming would be at this early stage. It turns out that Sony was a bit conservative in its thinking as well.

Andrew House, global chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, told The New York Times that he had doubts about the VR market catching on so quickly and being a draw in the mass market. He along with some others within Sony had advised the company to temper its expectations and to scale back the number of PSVR headsets it was planning to sell to consumers.

Sony PSVR

"It's the classic case in any organization—the guys who are on the front end in sales are getting very excited, very hyped up. You have to temper that with other voices inside the company, myself among them, saying let's just be a little bit careful," House said.

Well, House and Sony ended up being too careful. The PSVR has proven a hot seller—it's been especially scarce in stores in Japan where it first went up for sale in October of last year. According to House, Sony sold 915,000 PSVR headsets to consumers as of February 19. Sony's goal was to hit one million sales in six months, and it's nearly there after just four months.

Over in Japan, House says it's literally a situation of "people lining up outside stores when they know stock is being replenished." And that's how it's going to be, at least until April, which is when House says Sony will have balanced out supply with demand.

Part of the reason the PSVR is doing so well is because it's the least expensive solution among the big three in VR. It costs $400, versus $600 for the Oculus Rift and another $200 for Touch controllers, and $800 for the HTC Vive. There is also the cost of a high-powered PC to factor in, versus a PlayStation 4 console.

The VR market is set to get even bigger as Microsoft pushes out its Creators Update for Windows 10. Lower cost headsets will enter the market around the same time, plus the market will continue to mature.

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