PlayStation yesterday announced, via its US blog, that the PlayStation Vr headset had now sold 3m units. The milestone figure shows that the company has sold around 1m units in the last 8 months, having taken around 10 months to sell the previous 1m, with the first million being sold in just over 5 months after launch.
PSVR sales timeline
October 2016 – launch
Feb 2017 – 915,000
December 2017 – 2m
August 2018 – 3m
The headset continues to sell steadily then, but sales are not accelerating in the way you might expect a console's to as prices fall and software support ramps up. But then a VR headset isn’t a console. In fact, it’s hard to find a good comparison to judge the device’s success, with both Oculus and HTC guarding their own sales numbers.
Of course, it’s software that sells hardware, and Sony’s Jim Ryan speaking at Paris Games Week last year was adamant that software support would be ramped up and that ‘The future of PlayStation VR is extremely bright'. The number and quality of titles has certainly improved in our eyes, plus many of the titles highlighted back then are yet to launch.
In terms of software sales to date, Sony revealed that it had shifted 21.9m million PSVR games and experiences. On the upside that’s an attach rate of over seven pieces of content per headset sold, but then these often aren’t full-priced games.
Sony also released the top 10 most played titles on the hardware in the US. It’s not clear if this is based on the number of hours played, but that seems most likely, which would explain why the chunkier titles dominate the top spots.
PSVR most played titles to date in US (source: PlayStation)
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
2. PlayStation VR Worlds
3. Rec Room
4. Resident Evil 7 biohazard
5. The Playroom VR
6. Job Simulator
7. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
8. Batman: Arkham VR
10. Superhot VR
BUT IS IT ENOUGH?
The market has long accepted that virtual reality was going to be a slow build rather than an explosion. Though while there are still talented developers making excellent software, then we can only applaud Sony for taking a chance on the format and persisting with it when it turned out not to be a instant medium-changing smash hit.
So to answer that initial question, the answer is yes. Sony continues to champion the format, which has so much potential. The key unknown is by how much is Sony (and Oculus and HTC) incentivising developers to create the currrent crop of VR titles, and how long can that continue given that while such incentives stimulate development, the exclusivity deals that come with them divide an already slim software offering further still between competing hardware platforms.
VR is one area where, for games at least, we wouldn't mind seeing something of a monopoly take hold – or maybe a formal deal between Sony and one of the others for cross-development. Although the technology's wider potential applications mean there's a lot more going on here than our industry sees, with big tech firms keeping a careful eye on possible future applications in business, medicine, military and more.