Sony VR price may give it ad­van­tage

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By MASI masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese con­sumers can start or­der­ing PlayS­ta­tion VR head­sets on Thurs­day as the Ja­panese tech gi­ant Sony Corp moves quickly to en­ter the Chi­nese vir­tual re­al­ity mar­ket, which is ex­pected to buy 40 per­cent of glob­alVRde­vices in 2016.

Though months later than its archri­valHTCCorp in ship­ping VR de­vices, PlayS­ta­tion VR’s low price will give Sony an up­per hand meet­ing Chi­nese con­sumers’ grow­ing de­mand for an im­mer­sive gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, an­a­lysts said.

The de­vice will be priced from 2,999 yuan ($450), about $500 less than HTC Vive in China, which hit the streets in April. It will be for­mally re­leased in China in Oc­to­ber, but is al­ready open for pre-or­ders at both on­line shop­ping sites as well as 22 bricks-and­mor­tar stores across the coun­try.

Sony said 23 VR games, in­clud­ing seven by Chi­nese de­vel­op­ers, will be re­leased af­ter they gain ap­proval from the reg­u­la­tors.

The Ja­panese com­pany is wrestling with HTC and Face­book Inc’s Ocu­lus Rift in the race for the con­trol of the nascent global VR mar­ket.

But, the com­pe­ti­tion will be more in­tense in China where lo­cal play­ers such as LeEco and Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd are also scram­bling for a pres­ence with their smart­phoneVR de­vices.

In April, Ocu­lus Rift also re­port­edly said it would kick off a VR on­line store in the coun­try as soon as this year.

ex­pected ship­ments of VR head­sets by the end of this year

At­ten­dees

Tech­nol­ogy con­sul­tancy Canalys es­ti­mates that to­tal ship­ments of VR head­sets will reach 6.3 mil­lion units by the end of this year, of which 40 per­cent will go to Chi­nese con­sumers.

Zhao Zim­ing, an an­a­lyst at Bei­jing-based Analysys In­ter­na­tional, said un­like HTC’s VR, which could only work when con­nected to a high-end com­puter, Sony’s VR is de­signed to work along with its PlayS­ta­tion gam­ing de­vice, which al­ready has a large user base in China.

“The lower price will give Sony a big edge and the loyal users of PlayS­ta­tions are highly likely to buy the new­gad­get. But, in the fu­ture, ef­forts are needed to catch up with HTC in giv­ing con­sumers a more hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence.”

HTC­said in July it would set up more than 10,000 VR ex­pe­ri­ence sites in China by the end of the year.

use Sony PlayS­ta­tion VR Aim Con­trollers to play Far­point dur­ing an expo in Los An­ge­les, California.

Liu Zheng con­trib­uted to this story.

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