Sony Group Corp plans to produce 2 million units of the PlayStation VR2 headset by March next year, an ambitious goal that defies the global economic downturn.
The people, who asked not to be identified to discuss private information, said mass production of the virtual reality glasses began in September and has yet to run into supply chain bottlenecks, said the people. The product number is likely to be changed based on the sales volume of the device when it launches early next year.
VR glasses are still a largely unproven category, widely offered by HTC Corp and Oculus, now part of Meta Platforms Inc. Sony’s roadmap for PSVR 2 is expected to be much more popular than the company’s previous PlayStation VR glasses. For PlayStation, it took eight months to reach one million sales. IDC said Meta’s Quest 2, today’s most popular VR headset, shipped 2.8 million units in the first quarter, according to IDC.
Sony has not yet announced an official price or release date for the PSVR2. The company’s current plan to start selling the headsets in early 2023 coincides with an expected easing of supply chain constraints that have prevented the PlayStation 5 console from being available since its late 2020 release, the people said. This would give the company a sufficient selection of both headphones and consoles for a large marketing effort. Users need a PS5 console to use the VR headset.
A spokesperson for Sony Interactive Entertainment declined to comment.
Game developers remain skeptical of the VR segment due to its relatively small market share, especially in Sony’s home region of Japan. With 17 million units shipped to date by IDC, Meta’s Quest 2 is recognized as the top brand in the industry, but it pales in comparison to other products in console, mobile, and PC gaming.
Slowing economic growth and increased content costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have also affected the VR sector. In August, Meta raised the price of Quest 2 in response to rising production costs.
“The rising cost of living is making many consumers wary of spending on non-essential items,” said Francisco Jeronimo, director of data and analytics at IDC. “If the economic crisis deepens, Sony may cut production.”
Sony’s suppliers and partners are not sure how long the Japanese company will continue its fast production schedule after the launch.
Sony plans to speed up the PSVR2 launch with new games made for VR from its popular in-house franchises such as Horizon, and has said the device will take more than 20 years of in-house and third-party game developers to develop.