Low Sales Prompt Sony To Stop PSVR 2 Production

The PSVR 2  has only been on the shelves for just over a year, and it looks like it’s not selling as well as Sony had hoped. Consequently, reports are circulating that Sony has decided to pause production. 

Since its launch last February, sales of the PSVR 2 have progressively slowed. To meet the expected demand, Sony produced more than two million units. Unfortunately, since then, stocks have increased, and demand and production levels have been slower than expected. 

Now, Sony is pressing pause on PSVR 2 production while they sell through some of the inventory backlog. This surplus stock is reported to be across the entire Sony supply chain— meaning low sales are not isolated to specific regions. The problem is across the entire distribution network. 

This last year has been very exciting in terms of product launches, but there have been some other factors at play which could have impacted PSVR 2 performance. Let’s explore what’s behind Sony’s decision to pause production. 

How Many PSVR 2s Have Been Produced and Shipped?

Shipments of PSVR 2 have been declining in every quarter since the headset was released. IDC data shows nearly 600,000 units were shipped in the first quarter of 2023. This dropped to 435,300, 343,600, and 325,200 for the year’s final three quarters, respectively. 

IDC, the global market intelligence firm, tracks products shipped rather than just the quantities sold. But despite this decline in demand, IDC’s Francisco Jeromino remains optimistic about the future of the VR market. Now that Apple is a player, IDC forecasts expect an average yearly growth across the VR market of 31.5% per year from 2023 to 2028. 

In comparison, Meta has shipped over 3.7 million headsets during the same period, seeing growth between each quarter. 

How Many PSVR 2s Have Been Sold?

Unfortunately, information about PSVR 2 sales volumes is scarce. 

Back in February, Sony released the financial results for the quarter ending on December 31 2023. This covered most of the sales from the all-important holiday season. Although these reports revealed PS5 sales of 8.2 million for the quarter, PSVR 2 sales were notably absent. 

The only PSVR 2 sales figures revealed by Sony previously were for the first six weeks following the headset’s launch. During this period, they sold 600,000 which is slightly more than the original Playstation VR headset. 

Following the holiday season, reports indicated that for every PSVR 2 sold via Amazon, more than 30 Quests were sold. Of course, Amazon isn’t the only place the PSVR 2 or either Quest headset are available, but they can give an indication of how sales may stack elsewhere. 

The lack of sales data may prompt many to ask whether Sony are embarrassed about the poor performance of the headset, or keeping quiet to minimise impact? After all, negative talk around the device could shake consumer confidence. 

Why Hasn’t the PSVR 2 Sold Well?

Sony’s PSVR 2 retails at £530 in the UK, and $550 in the United States. But unlike the Meta Quest range, Apple Vision Pro, and many of the other headsets on the market, the PSVR 2 requires users to have a PlayStation 5 to use it. And, although the PS5 may be one of the most popular consoles available with unit sales surpassing 50 million, uptake for the PSVR 2 seems minimal. 

Sony’s biggest competitors in the VR field all produce standalone headsets. This gives the likes of Meta and Apple a broader consumer base. And in the case of Meta, it reduces the cost of buying the technology in the first place. 

Sony launched the PSVR 2 at a time when the world knew the Quest 3 would launch soon, and when speculation about Apple’s market entrance was more than a rumour. Although initial sales beat those of Sony’s previous VR headset, there is a strong chance that would-be buyers were holding out for Meta or Apple devices. 

Where Sony really fell down was in the number of titles available at launch and in the months following. The lack of available VR games is definitely a factor stopping many PS5 gamers from taking the leap and buying a headset. 

Because of the number of headsets sold, game developers are clearly hesitant to create VR titles. With the costs associated with VR development so much higher compared to those of regular games, it’s understandable that fewer are willing to take the risk. This creates a catch-22 situation that could severely impede Sony’s chances of success in this market.

How Will Sony Turn the PSVR 2’s Fortunes Around?

The news about the production break clearly shows that Sony hasn’t given up on the PSVR 2. Just recently, Sony shared plans to open up PC titles to PSVR 2 users. According to reports last month, Sony is currently testing PC support. 

The option to play PC titles will make the PSVR 2 a more attractive proposition for anyone torn between buying a Quest 3, Vision Pro, or the Sony headset. 

The details of how the PSVR 2 will support PC titles are yet to be determined. Sony hopes to launch PC support for the headset later this year. But the fact that Sony is looking elsewhere to source content for its own headset is perhaps indicative of the company’s lack of confidence in its own product. 

In addition, the news that the PSVR 2 production is on hold comes just after Sony Interactive Entertainment made 8% of its team redundant. This includes employees at first-party game studios responsible for developing VR titles. 

One of those affected was its London Studio, which will close completely. Another studio badly hit by the layoffs was Firesprite, which was responsible for Horizon Call of the Mountain, one of the few PSVR 2 exclusive titles. 

Making PC VR titles available on the PlayStation seems like the best way to make the PSVR 2 more appealing and shift inventory. Without a winning strategy, production may cease completely. 

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