Sony gut-punches Oculus, Vive. And Nintendo NX?


PlayStation VR will launch in October 2016 at $399.

The internet exploded earlier today when Sony announced an incredible price-point and holiday-shopping-centric launch window for it’s long-awaited virtual reality system.

“Incredible” being relative of course. At $399, this is still a significant investment for Gary Gamer and his buddy Joe Sixpack. But for Earnie Early-Adopter (his parents never married and decided to hyphenate his combined surnames), PlayStation VR is pennies compared to Oculus ($599) and HTC’s Vive ($799).

PS VR Components

Sony’s press conference was brief. High-level specs, then the price, then a quick mention of dedicated support for, and from, developers around the world. It was a truncated version of the PS4 reveal and clearly, that formula is working.

Undercutting the virtual reality competition so significantly achieves three things:

  1. Continues to build upon Sony’s enormous goodwill among gamers, and now VR-enthusiasts. Many will interpret today’s reveal as a gesture for us. As if we’re getting a family-and-friends discount.
  2. Puts the onus back on Oculus and Vive to educate consumers that their products are $200 or $400 more sophisticated. A tough sell, for sure.
  3. Swings a round-house kick to Nintendo’s open jaw.

The Nintendo NX-killer?

Everyone but Nintendo has been talking about the NX for months! Gamers around the world are genuinely excited to see Nintendo make a comeback and show us something incredible. And even though nobody expects Nintendo to return to virtual reality anytime soon (RIP VirtuaBoy), they just lost millions of gamer dollars to Sony. Again.

At $399, PSVR doesn’t just compete for virtual-reality consumer mind share, it competes for console mind share. Without knowing the NX price, one can assume it may lie somewhere between the Xbox One and PS4. So with that in mind, how many $399 gaming purchases do you plan on making this year?

Tens of millions have already been convinced that PlayStation is the best place to play – meaning Sony is well-positioned to offer an enhanced way to play to its dedicated fan-base.  Nintendo, on the other hand, is reeling. There is plenty of work ahead to bring gamers back – a far more difficult (and expensive) proposition.

Today’s announcement by Sony is going to be remembered for years. It’s impact on the virtual reality market is undeniable and obvious. Outside of that, PlayStation VR could be the non-gaming console that kills Nintendo’s next system before it even comes out. Heck, before it’s even announced! Mario’s makers need to announce something big and soon to convince gamers to stop opening their wallets for Sony.

A giant kudos to Sony – but Nintendo needs to wake up. Sony’s been holding a grudge since the N64.