Normally, any company that fully dominates the business it’s in would be happy to shout the news from the rooftops. But not the head of Sony’s VR division, which enjoys the position because of the huge installed base of its PlayStation 4 games consoles.
In a Reuters interview on the sidelines of the Tokyo Games Show last week, Andrew House, chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said he wanted a much larger overall market for VR. The numbers are on the surface impressive with Sony having sold 500,000 headsets in the quarter-year to the end of June, and according to data from International Data Corp (IDC) giving the company an “unmatched” lead over the performance of Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset and HTC’s Vive variant.
IDC in a report issued last week said the VR/AR market grew 25.5 per cent y-o-y in the period to the end of June. Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, stated: “Growth in the VR market has been rather sluggish compared to other recently introduced technologies as the amount of investment and, more importantly, the need for end user education is extremely high for VR. Though the recent price cuts across all major platforms will help alleviate one of the barriers to adoption, providing consumers the opportunity to learn about products and try before they buy is still a significant hurdle faced by most companies.”
Pricing – as well as PlayStation ownership – might also have something to do with Sony’s popularity in the market as its unit is half the price of Oculus, which has led to price trimming this past summer on both Oculus and Vive.
There are plenty of other products in the market not least Samsung’s Gear (which Sony claims is not a rival product), and Google’s minimum cost cardboard unit as well as the newly launched – and low-cost – Google Daydream View.