After Sony announced the $399 USD price tag for PlayStation VR yesterday, Time spoke with Shawn Layden, Sony Computer Entertainment America President, to learn more about their decision.
According to Layden, the $399 price gives PSVR mass market appeal to the more than 36 million PlayStation 4 owners:
We wanted to make sure that we came out with a product that could be available to the mass, 36-plus million PS4 users out there. We think that pricing it similar to the price of a console is the right marketing space to be in. Luckily we have the engineers on board, led by the teams that created the PS4, that we’re able to realize that product with that quality at that price level.
Adam Boyes, SCEA’s Vice President of Publisher and Developer Relations, also discussed PlayStation VR’s price, telling Game Informer that they’re making money on each unit sold:
I think for us, we weren’t really looking at the other guys. The same goes for the price point. It wasn’t predicated on anyone else’s prices. Obviously we need to make money on the unit, but we’ve been in the consumer electronics business for a long time, so our ability to source great, high quality parts is a big part of it.
As for when we’ll know the exact October 2016 release date for PSVR, Layden says they “haven’t nailed that one down yet.” Since Sony has to navigate around game development schedules and hardware manufacturing deadlines, it’s still unknown. However, Layden wants to get the message out “sooner rather than later.”
Whenever PSVR does come out, it will be over six months after the Oculus Rift. According to Boyes, there’s an advantage to being the first one on the market, but “watching how the market evolves and changes and what works and doesn’t is helpful.”
In addition to a big presence at E3, Sony will be “partnering very closely with our big retail partners to come up with experiential activities over the next six months before launch.”