PlayS­ta­tion VR

With a com­par­a­tively low price and some in­no­va­tive soft­ware, Sony’s VR am­bi­tions are se­ri­ous

EDGE - - SECTIONS - BY SI­MON PARKIN

When the an­nounce­ment of a pe­riph­eral that, at £349, costs sig­nif­i­cantly more than the hard­ware on which it runs and yet could be con­sid­ered to be some­thing of a bar­gain, you know we’re liv­ing in un­usual times. But then PlayS­ta­tion VR’s ri­vals cost hun­dreds of pounds more than Sony’s hard­ware, and that’s be­fore you even fac­tor in the cost of the high-end PCs that are re­quired to make them work prop­erly. In that con­text, PSVR’s pri­ce­point, an­nounced at a press event held in San Fran­cisco along­side the Game De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence, feels al­most mirac­u­lous – es­pe­cially when you con­sider that Sony claims it will make money on each unit sold.

An­drew House, CEO of Sony Com­puter En­ter­tain­ment, who strode onto a small stage in front of a packed room to re­veal that the PSVR will launch glob­ally in Oc­to­ber, seems only too aware of the coup the com­pany has pulled. “The pri­ce­point has been far from an easy task,” he says, smil­ing. Nev­er­the­less, as the most af­ford­able se­ri­ous VR op­tion, Sony’s hard­ware may have the best chance, at least in the short term, of lur­ing con­sumers to in­vest in the nascent medium. It’s a tough job. While a bat­tal­ion of de­vel­op­ers and in­vestors ap­pear fully on board with VR’s po­ten­tial (ex­hibit A: the un­prece­dent­edly long, ser­pen­tine queues lin­ing up for the Game De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence’s VR-themed talks), many tra­di­tional videogame fans seem less con­vinced of its rel­e­vance to their in­ter­ests.

“Ex­cite­ment for de­liv­er­ing VR re­minds me of the an­tic­i­pa­tion when build­ing the orig­i­nal PlayS­ta­tion,” House says, un­de­terred. “It’s a nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion of the ex­pe­ri­ences we strive to de­liver at PlayS­ta­tion.” Sony cer­tainly has fire­power. The com­pany says that more than 230 stu­dios are work­ing on games for the de­vice, with com­mit­ment from pub­lish­ers such as EA, which has re­vealed that it will re­lease a ded­i­cated PlayS­ta­tion VR ver­sion of Star Wars Bat­tle­front. As yet, how­ever, there are no de­tails on how many ti­tles will launch with the head­set, which will be avail­able in var­i­ous bun­dles,

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