Sony had a heavy burden of expectations going into its presentation at E3 this week. The company has been the clear leader in the latest generation of consoles with over 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles sold. The company rose to the task by delivering an array of game trailers and announcements from its pre-E3 press conference on Monday from the Shrine Auditorium, backed by a full orchestra and chorus conducted by famous TV music composer, Bear McCreary.
Amid the steady showcase of upcoming games came Sony’s big hardware announcement: PlayStation VR will ship October 13, 2016, with a starting price of $399. The company did not clutter up the event with any other retail specifics, but there will surely be different offerings, and a bundle with a PS4 and PSVR seems natural.
Sony’s fall sales picture is really in two major parts, a difficult marketing challenge. First, there are all of the non-VR PS4 games that Sony wants you to buy this fall. Second, there are the PSVR games and experiences that Sony also wants you to buy, with some (such as Resident Evil 7) that can be played both ways. There’s also the task of explaining the difference between a full game and what Sony is calling a “VR experience,” which apparently is a much shorter game that may offer a much lower price point.
Sony made it clear that PSVR is coming out strong. “2016 is a seminal moment in virtual reality,” said Sony Computer Entertainment head, Andrew House. “The time has come for everyone to enjoy VR in their homes. We have the necessary processing power in 40 million PS4s.” After showing the launch date of October 13, starting at $399, House went on to hammer home the value proposition. “We’ll have more than 50 games by the end of the year for PSVR.” That includes some of the biggest Sony franchises as well as some of the biggest titles from other publishers.
Showing VR titles to an audience via standard video is less than optimal, but there really isn’t a good alternative yet. Still, the action shown was impressive. Final Fantasy XV made an appearance with a PlayStation VR experience, which is in addition to the full game that’s coming out September 30, 2016 for PS4 and Xbox One. Resident Evil 7 will appear on January 24, 2017, and the game will be playable all the way through in VR. You can also look forward to Star Wars action with a Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission and Batman Arkham VR among the 50 titles coming this year.
Analysts, as well as fans, were impressed with Sony’s lineup. “As expected the PlayStation VR was front and center (October 13), with a strong initial lineup including a new installment of Resident Evil 7, Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission and Final Fantasy XV VR Experience,” said SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen.
Sony delivered a great lineup of upcoming titles and took PSVR excitement to the next level. With over 50 titles to choose from by year end, there should be no shortage of ways to enjoy the PSVR hardware this holiday. Marketing mission accomplished, Sony.