The Cost of VR or: Why Sony has a Huge Edge

The HTC Vive is a high powered VR headset, and retails for $799. It’s most similar competitor is the Oculus Rift, which has an entry level price of $599, but you really need to spend $199 more for the controllers that go with it. So no matter which version you go with, it’s $800 for the VR hardware, plus probably another grand or so for a PC that is powerful enough to play VR games at any reasonable resolution.

So all in, about $1,800 to go all in on a PC-based VR experience. I’m sure you can probably skimp on some components and build a PC for a bit less than $1,000, but not by much. No matter what, it’s a hefty price tag.

And then we have the PlayStation VR, which clocks in at an entry price of $399, which is half the price of the Vive, and $200 less than the base Oculus price. However, if you want the controllers and camera that are essential to using the PlayStation VR, that will cost you another $100, bringing to full price to $499. In fairness, you need a PS4 as well to use the VR, so that’s another $299 if you don’t have one already.

To recap:

HTC Vive Oculus Rift PlayStation VR
No controllers N/A $599 $399
W controllers $799 $798 $499
With console/PC $1,800 $1,800 $800

That’s a pretty remarkable price edge for the PlayStation VR, and considering the reviews for Sony’s new VR headset are pretty damn glowing, and it’s releasing as we enter the holiday season. Sony sold about 5.7 million PS4s last holiday quarter, and there are no signs that number is going to decrease at all this year. In fact, with the intro of PlayStation VR as well as the PlayStation 4 Pro, it’s likely Sony will move more hardware than last year.

The Vive and Rift came out in March and April of this year, but I’m putting my money down now: the PlayStation VR will sell more units by January 1, 2017 (in 2.5 months) than the Vive and Rift in their ~9 months on sale.