The sticker shock of the new VR headset generation is difficult for me to accept now that we have actual prices for them.The most costly PS5 is more expensive than PlayStation VR2. I understand why, but the cost is still excessive.
A whole new age for virtual reality is about to begin. Meta recently released its top-of-the-line Quest Pro, PSVR2 will be available in February from Sony, and Apple is widely expected to enter the fray very soon with its own VR/AR gear. I’m now prepared to invest in a VR headset, and I feel as though I belong in this generation. However, now that we can actually see their pricing, I’m experiencing some significant sticker shock.
The minimum cost to use PSVR2 is $950 when the $549.99 price of PSVR2 is added to the $399.99 starting price of the PS5. A standalone VR headset called the Quest Pro costs $1,499.99. And don’t anticipate Apple’s headset to be less expensive either; Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said that it might cost more than $2,000, suggesting that it would likely be even more expensive.
Fair enough, these headsets are crammed with cutting-edge innovation. With features including an OLED screen, four in-built cameras to track your motions, and far superior controllers compared to the PS3-ea Move wands that the previous PSVR depended on, PSVR2 is a significant improvement over PSVR. The Quest Pro is significantly more streamlined than the Quest 2, includes cameras that face inward to monitor your facial expressions, and allows you to view passthrough video in full color. It’s even said that Apple’s headset will enable eye-based payment processing.
VR requires a more widely accepted price if it is to gain widespread adoption.
However, if VR is to become widely used—and Silicon Valley is investing billions to make that happen—companies will need to charge a reasonable price for all that glitzy technology. The $299 asking price for The Quest 2 seemed much more realistic. Similar to how some people already use the $299 Nintendo Switch, it is a viable standalone VR headgear that you can use for things like games and fitness apps.
With roughly 15 million units sold as of June, according to IDC, it has also proven to be popular. That’s especially impressive in light of Sony’s recent announcement that 25 million PS5s have been sold, indicating that a product in a relatively new category isn’t all that far behind the world’s most sought-after platform. Even while Meta recently increased the price of the headset by $100, it’s still a less financial hit than the $1,000 you’ll need to spend on the next generation.
It’s important to note that Meta is advertising the Quest Pro primarily as a work-focused device rather than a product for the general consumer; for the majority of consumers, the Quest 2 is the Meta headset they should purchase (at least until the Quest 3 launches next year). But if the Quest 2 is sufficient for the majority of people, do we really need tech firms promoting incredibly expensive and high-tech VR devices? Although they may be aspirational, and I understand the desire to push the envelope in order to eventually lower prices, is the Quest Pro really worth more than three times what the Quest 2 costs?
However, these businesses are requesting significant financial investments from customers who wish to test out higher-end headsets on what are essentially still nascent platforms. In order to innovate on the platform, Meta continues to take the “build it and they will come” approach rather than developing its own game-changing applications. Contrary to Nintendo, which creates odd hardware but has apparent applications, and Apple, which is renowned for combining excellent hardware and software, neither the people behind Horizon Worlds nor Nintendo really utilize their products. Well, generally. We’ll have to wait and see if the maker of the iPhone is able to sell its VR headgear.
That’s probably why, despite the PSVR2’s expensive price, I have the most hope for it. Sony made a special effort to create fantastic games for the original PSVR, and I have a feeling it will do the same for PSVR2. Sony’s hallmark PSVR2 game, Horizon Call of the Mountain, which was created especially for Sony’s hardware, astonished my coworker Victoria Song. Sony’s dedication to creating video games for a VR system with a video game concentration suggests that the games will be excellent.
You will have to start over with your PSVR2 library and hope that developers continue to create games for the technology because PSVR2 is, sadly, incompatible with the many games for the original PSVR. You are placing a significant wager on the platform’s future if you purchase it at launch.
PSVR2 is frustratingly incompatible with the many titles for the first PSVR, so you will have to start anew with your collection and hope that developers continue to make games for the technology. If you buy it at launch, you’re making a big bet on the platform’s future.