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Sony halts development on PlayStation VR2 headset

Sony has ceased the production of its current-generation virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR2, due to dwindling sales. Insider sources familiar with Sony’s plans revealed that the headset has been accumulating in stock across the company’s supply chain since its debut approximately a year ago. Despite being compatible with the PlayStation 5 platform, shipments of the PSVR2 have declined each quarter since its launch, with over 2 million units manufactured.

With an excess supply of headsets on hand, Sony aims to deplete its existing stock before resuming production of new units. The primary challenge faced by the PSVR2, according to reports from Bloomberg, is the lack of compelling content and entertainment options available on the platform. While the headset is compatible with select AAA games, its premium price point has led to heightened consumer expectations.

Additionally, recent restructuring efforts at Sony, such as the closure of its London Studio and downsizing of its Firesprite studio, have impacted teams working on virtual reality products, as per Bloomberg’s findings.

In response to the content shortage, Sony has announced plans to explore PC compatibility for the PlayStation VR2. However, the specifics of the headset’s functionality with PC games remain undisclosed, though an introduction is anticipated later this year.

Despite Sony’s efforts to address content gaps, the prohibitive cost of VR technology remains a significant barrier to its widespread adoption.

“High VR hardware prices pose the primary obstacle to its expansion,” remarked Macquarie analyst Yijia Zhai, as cited by Bloomberg. “Currently, the limited selection of games supporting VR devices contributes to a lack of incentive for players to invest in VR hardware. This scarcity of content is also attributable to the substantially higher development costs associated with VR games,” Zhai added.

Nevertheless, despite these challenges, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts steady growth in the VR market, projecting an average annual increase of 31.5 percent between 2023 and 2028. Analysts attribute this anticipated growth in part to Apple’s entry into the market with its Vision Pro headset, which is expected to bolster adoption rates.

The PlayStation VR2 is not the sole Sony product grappling with tepid demand. Sales of the PlayStation 5 platform have also experienced a downturn in recent quarters. To counter this trend, Sony is gearing up to launch a new “Pro” iteration of its console, the PS5 Pro, later in 2024, timed for release during the holiday season.

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