The price of the PlayStation VR 2 raises many questions. Let’s try to understand why

PlayStation VR2: ecco il design del nuovo visore per PlayStation 5 thumbnail

It was recently announced the launch price of the PlayStation VR 2; the new Sony home device for virtual reality gaming. Immediately, the community of enthusiasts raised an eyebrow for the figure, which you surely already know: 599 euro per il set base e 649 in bundle con Horizon Call of the Mountain.

As many have already commented, € 599 is more than the price of a Playstation 5. Plus, it will only be compatible with the PS5; which, two years after its launch and to be honest, it still is very difficult to findalmost like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket.

In the editorial office we sat around a table and we have tried to understand what this price may have depended on. We have therefore made a series of hypotheses, which we would like to share with you. But be careful, the ones that follow they are hypotheses and not a market analysis. Think about it, but don’t take it too seriously.

The planning times

We often forget that an electronic gadget we will buy next month was designed at least five years ago. The PlayStation VR 2 is full of innovative technology, just think of the tracking of the pupils through the lenses. Getting state-of-the-art technology five years earlier than anyone else is not only expensive, but often too kind of a bet.

Imagine the scene: in 2017 (date of pure invention) Sony starts thinking about the PlayStation VR 2. So, he goes to a company that manufactures eye displays and says: “What will be your flagship product in five years? I need 10 million pieces. How much do you want? How much does it cost to make sure that I will be the only one to buy them? “.

From that moment, however, anything can happen: the technology may not come true, the manufacturer may go bankrupt or other competitors may offer him more money. Or, there could be a pandemic and a war that get in the way. The first could block production and the second make the territories from which the raw materials arrive inaccessible.

Will all this prevent Sony from having 10 million eye displays? Probably not, but she must be willing to pay them more. Also because without an ocular display you can’t do PlayStation VR and without PlayStation VR a mechanism in which Sony has invested billions of dollars is jammed. And multinationals, no matter their name and where they were founded, never throw away the billions.

The silicon crisis

On our planet there is a lot of sand. Sand is made of silicon and electronic components are made with silicon. Except to turn silicon into electronic components need the neon gas. Now, geography question: where is half of this planet’s neon gas produced? Perhaps some of you have already guessed: in Ukraine. Unfortunately, Ukraine is going through a very difficult moment in its history; has all our support and, honestly, it also seems fair to us that manufacturing of neon gas is not a priority by Volodymyr Zelensky.

The markets, unfortunately, have the bad habit of working with the auction mechanism. If the need for neon does not diminish but there is half of it available, those who want it will offer more because they need it. And whoever makes components for Sony needs it a lot. Eventually, the price of neon goes up. Therefore it will cost more to make the components and will increase the price of the finished product: the PlayStation VR.

Come to think of it, the lack of components can also be seen in many other sectors. If you have tried to order a car recently you have already realized this very well.

Attention then. Even if peace returns tomorrow (which we all hope), the effects will not be immediate. It will take us a while to get back to the standards of a few years ago. Unless, in the meantime, someone invents a way to make electronic components using something other than neon.

The metaverse affects the market

Let us remember then that there is also the phenomenon of the metaverse, which we have all been talking about lately. To assess whether or not the metaverse will take off it would take a crystal ball. But, just in case we’re all playing in a “Ready Player One” metaverse next year, Sony cannot afford to be left out from that market.

Everyone is ready, some more and some less; Meta (Facebook) says they already have a headset ready. Sony, that it already has a working product and a fairly solid presence on the market, can’t afford to be late to the party. However, it has to get to the shelves first. However, speeding up to reduce time comes at a cost. Because we need to involve more people and intensify the work. A cost because more money has to be wagered at the component market auction. A cost that is reflected in the price of the PlayStation VR.

Marketing problems

Marketing, we all know, is the art of pleasing things to those who have to buy them. But, in reality, it also does much more. For example, study the right price to give to the products. Where “right” means “to sell more”And does not always coincide with“ the lowest ”.

It often happens to everyone that the quality of a product is proportional to its price. Often this is the case, but not always. However, it can happen that sometimes an item is sold to us for a certain price only for lead us to think that it is better than the competition.

If, we go to Amazon and look at the price of the most fierce competitor of the PlayStation VR 2: the Oculus Quest 2. We will see that today (November 2022) it is 549 euros.

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of those who do marketing for Sony. One of the ways to make it clear without a shadow of a doubt that a PlayStation VR 2 is better than an Oculus Quest 2 is to sell it at an equivalent if not higher price. Should it cost half, we could consider it legitimate to give us some doubts. Also keep in mind that an Oculus Quest already comes with hundreds of games available while the PlayStation lineup is being defined in recent months.

The real problem, for marketing and for us, is that reading the technical specifications a PlayStation VR 2 is dramatically more advanced than an Oculus Quest 2; if only because it uses two years of newer technology. Except most customers are too lazy to read and understand the technical specifications.

The difficult question we asked ourselves

To be honest, in the editorial office we asked ourselves a question about the PlayStation VR 2 that we have seen few others have asked: “why in February?“. These types of items generally come out in late November: for Thanksgiving in the US and ready for Christmas around the world. Or in June, as a gift for school promotions. But, in February? What’s in February?

The only one hypotheses that we feel like making is that February was a reasonable compromise between availability of materials, times and costs. In order not to end up like the PlayStation 5, to arrive in time for the metaverse, and not to excessively increase the expenses.

The product will perhaps not become a Christmas present, but will keep the price of the PlayStation VR 2 under control, while satisfying the marketing.

Summing up

Obviously, the price of a PlayStation VR 2 it depends on a huge combination of factors. Not only the few that we have thought and wanted to share here with you. Some may be reasonable if we think about it, others may make us turn up our noses.

However, the question of whether the price of the PlayStation VR 2 is reasonable should be answered partly yes, because the world has changed while they were planning it and partly not because there is always the doubt of costs not related to production. There is a possibility, however, that in the near future we will have to revise upwards the cost of several technological gadgets linked to our passions, not just the PlayStation VR 2.