By now, it’s quite clear that PlayStation VR is off to a healthy start with Amazon and GameStop selling out of all their stock. The health of PS VR can also be traced to developers who will reap twice the revenue from it when compared to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. As for Japan, PlayStation VR is also off to a fantastic start with nearly all units produced selling out in the first week.
PS4 Pro being more powerful than PS4 is a given at this point – not only does it have a faster processor, but it also comes with an additional 1GB of RAM. However, unlike the 8GB GDDR5 RAM that runs both machines, that additional memory is DDR3 which means, as you’d probably guess, slower RAM. Mark Cerny, PS4 System Architect:
We felt games needed a little more memory – about 10 per cent more – so we added a gigabyte of slow, conventional DRAM to the console […] On a standard model, if you’re switching between an application, such as Netflix, and a game, Netflix is still in system memory even when you’re playing the game. We use that architecture because it allows for a very quick swap between applications. Nothing needs to be loaded, it’s already in memory.
In a bit of initial bummer news, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, a VR-based experience, has been delayed until 2017. Though I’ve yet to have a chance to give it a spin myself, it’s been unanimously praised by those who’ve spent time with it at E3 and PAX so it’s something that I’d been looking forward to try. Luckily the delay isn’t all that long.
One of the biggest reasons PS4 has proven so successful is that from the beginning, Sony doubled down on hardcore gamers. Yes the PS4 had media features and other related stuff but all Sony wanted to talk about and did talk about was games. Now, four years into its life cycle, Sony is continuing to double down on that strategy by announcing PlayStation Tournaments that’s sure to get the interest of, you guessed it, hardcore gamers.
John Koller, Vice President, PlayStation Brand Marketing, SIEA writes on the PlayStation Blog:
One of the reasons PS VR has had such a successful launch thus far has been due to the massive catalogue of games it launched with – 31, to be exact, which is quite notable for an entirely new platform. Thanks to the large library of games and an easy way to get them – either through retail outlets like GameStop or the PlayStation Store – PS VR is going to be doing some serious business for developers.
Of course that number is a fraction of what developing for a traditional console/PC game will earn, but what’s notable here is how much more revenue PlayStation VR will be generating compared to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive which launched months ago. Yuji Nakamura writing for Bloomberg:
When PS4 released, it had one clear goal in mind – to be the ultimate gaming machine, and that was quite apparent long before the console ever launched with every exec talking about one thing: games. This was quite the different tone from its predecessor, the PS3, a console that was all about the ultimate everything machine. From games, to 3D movies, Blu-ray, streaming, and anything else you can think of. But as you and I know, there is a lot more we use our consoles for than just games, namely streaming content and to that end, Sony has been steadily bolstering what PS4 can do. A big part of that has been ramping up their own streaming service, PS Vue, but another part of that strategy has been to bring as many media apps as possible.
When the PS4 Pro was announced in September, some were miffed by Sony’s decision to exclude a 4K Blu-ray drive. I had then written a fairly extensive piece on why the PS4 Pro didn’t need such a drive (which would only add to its price) and that streaming was/is the future of 4K adoption. Now, What Hi-Fi?, the mega home theater site, has weighed in on the topic though not directly stating there is a lack of need for the PS4 Pro to have a 4K drive or speaking out against 4K Blu-ray drives in general. Instead, they’ve given their Netflix 4K review. What Hi-Fi? writes:
But there’s a stack of 4K content available right now, from Breaking Bad to House of Cards, and more will inevitably follow.
In terms of content – bespoke content in particular – Netflix distances itself from any nominal competition.
And if you have an HDR (High Dynamic Range) compatible TV, there’s some HDR content on Netflix too. It’s not immediately obvious, as there isn’t an HDR section anywhere in the menus, but if you type HDR into the search box you’ll find a list of HDR content such as Bloodline, Marco Polo and Marvel’s Daredevil. You’ll see an HDR or Dolby Vision logo on relevant material.
They said VR wouldn’t sell and if it does, not in high volumes. Sony begs to differ – Jim Ryan, president and chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe talking with CNBC:
We know that the replenishment cycle is a good one, production is going exactly as we anticipated. We have made decisions to further increase capacity at the back end of 2016 and into 2017, so there are going to be a lot of PlayStation VRs around the world, whether that’s enough to satisfy the demands of the market, we’ll see
A bit of news has broken out in the past 48 hours that would see Sony develop PlayStation games from the ground up for iOS and Android. The move now makes even more sense than ever after Nintendo debuted Pokemon Go for mobile and added billions to their valuation. Mitchel Broussard writing for MacRumors:
At the time of that announcement, the company hadn’t detailed the launch plan, or specified how many games it wanted to create, so today marks the first time it talks about its smartphone gaming plans since then. Known in March and reiterated today, the Sony iOS and Android games will first hit Japan and other Asian countries, with the expectation being that each game will then slowly rollout wider after the initial release.
And here is the weird part, which Broussard notes – none of this is news as it was all announced way back in March. This is what I’d written then:
In the past, the video game industry has generally relied on selling consoles during their initial first few years on the market at a loss while retaining some profits from license fees on each software sold. Eventually with enough consoles in consumer hands, not only would the intake from licensing fees dramatically increase, but money could finally be made from each sold console due to component costs decreasing as well. This scenario played especially true during the PS3 era where the console launched at $599, a price seen as too high for many gamers and Sony was still losing north of $300 on each unit it pushed out.
Launch day is finally here! If you’re like us, you’ve been waiting pretty impatiently for PlayStation VR to finally come to market. With more than 25 day one titles to go along with your shiny new headset, now is the perfect time to jump in to the world of VR. So, tell us: will you be getting PlayStation VR during launch? Let us know in our poll!
PS: Unfortunately, we had some issues with the poll where it allowed you to vote for multiple options. We’ve since adjusted it, so if you’ve already voted, please make sure to vote again!
For those of you who are planning on picking up PlayStation VR (and do tell us in our poll), Sony has put together a three part video to aid you. Over all, setup of PS VR is as simple as connecting the unit to your PS4 and ensuring PlayStation Camera has an optimal view of you, but the three short videos are still worth a watch, especially if your unit (like ours) has yet to arrive and you’re grasping for anything VR-related to pass the time.
Something to consider as well is that this is one of the biggest reasons why, in comparison to Oculus and HTC, PS VR is going to be a runaway success. There is no compatibility gauge, driver firmware, or OS updates needed. If you have a PS4, PS VR works – it’s that simple.
Are you hyped about the launch of PlayStation VR? If not, according to WSJ, you should be. One of the biggest problems new consoles face when they launch is a drought of games. Sure there might be a handful of titles upon release but it usually takes months before additional big titles launch. Seeing that PS VR is built on top of PS4 and has been in the public eye for some time, developers haven’t had the constraints they normally face like secrecy and limited time with the console. As this point, most of the devs involved have spent at least a few years with PS4 hardware so instead of learning something entirely new, they need to ‘simply’ build on top of it.
To that end, gamers should be pleased to know that PlayStation VR launch titles will include the likes of Battlezone, Batman: Arkham VR, Eve: Valkyrie, and Rez Infinite on day one with more on the way during November and December.
In less than 24 hours, and for some, in less than 12 hours, PlayStation VR will launch and mark the official launch of virtual reality as we know it. Sure, there have been VR rigs in the past and perhaps most notably, the arrival of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive 6 months ago, but to a degree, both systems have been met with a shrug. Sure, you’ll read about how amazing each system is on tech blogs (and they are quite great), but that means little when VR’s biggest challenge is getting to consumers. For them, each system is too cumbersome to put on, limited in terms of where/how you can use them, and most importantly, far too expensive. On top of that, the general consumer has never heard of either brand – but PlayStation? That’s a name known all too well by gamers and non-gamers alike.