Sony Hits Pause on PS VR2 Production as Unsold Inventory Piles Up

Mar18,2024



Sony Group has halted production of its PS VR2 headset until it clears its backlog of unsold units, according to people familiar with its plans, raising doubts about the appeal of virtual reality gadgets.

Sales of the $550 wearable accessory for the PlayStation 5 have slowed to a trickle since its launch and stocks of the device are rising, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the information is not public. Sony has produced more than 2 million units of the product since it was launched in February last year, the people said.

According to IDC, which tracks deliveries to retailers rather than consumers, PS VR2 shipments have declined every quarter since its launch. A surplus of assembled devices is in Sony's supply chain, the people said. Still, IDC's Francisco Geronimo expects the product category to improve in the coming years with the help of Apple's entry. “We estimate that the VR market will grow at an average rate of 31.5 percent per year between 2023 and 2028,” he said.

Along with the Meta platform, Sony has been one of the leading providers of virtual reality gear, but both have struggled to attract enough content and entertainment creators to make their platforms attractive. A similar problem befell Apple's more expensive Vision Pro headset, as it debuted without customized apps from major entertainment platforms Netflix and Alphabet's YouTube.

Sony did not respond to requests for comment.

Tokyo-based Sony announced last month that it was closing its PlayStation London division, which was focused on creating virtual reality games. The move was part of a broader set of layoffs that also affected in-house studios like Guerrilla Games, which worked on creating a PS VR2-exclusive game in its popular Horizon series, Horizon Call of the Mountain.

“The high cost of VR hardware serves as the main barrier to its expansion,” said Macquarie analyst Yijia Zhai. “Currently, there are limited games that support VR devices, and this will also lead to a lack of motivation for players to purchase VR hardware. There is a reason for this limited content – ​​the development costs of VR games are significantly higher than that of normal titles.

Sony is still working on expanding the range of content available on the headset, and said in February that it was testing the ability for PS VR2 players to access PC titles.

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