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The PlayStation Showcase needs to save the PSVR 2

OPINION: It’s safe to say that the launch of the PSVR 2 hasn’t pulled up any trees, at least in the sales department. The PlayStation Showcase is Sony’s chance to turn things around, but will it?

Sony isn’t giving up on the PSVR 2 and, admittedly, it’d be too early to do so. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan recently said, in an interview with Famitsu: “PSVR 2 has just been launched, so it may be a little early to judge its popularity, but we are happy to see many positive reactions from users and the media.”

Ryan is correct. Our review of the PSVR 2 gave the headset a strong 4-star rating, and it is absolutely too soon to write the sequel VR device off. Things were looking a tad dire, with Bloomberg reporting back in March that Sony projected launch sales of less than 300,000 for the PSVR 2. However, just in time for this showcase, Push Square reports that the company has now revealed sales of 600,000 over the first six weeks. That, admittedly, is 8% higher than the PSVR for the same period following its launch.

However, this number remains less than what the gaming giant was hoping for, with plans to produce 2 million units for the first quarter of the headset’s launch. It’s absolutely not too late, however, things aren’t going to magically turn around – action is needed. The PlayStation Showcase could be the perfect opportunity to grab attention and course correct.

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Jim Ryan was keen to highlight that “more than 40 titles have been released around the launch of the PSVR 2. In addition, there are many titles ahead of us in 2023 and beyond”. However, despite 40 games sounding like plenty for a launch, it’s quantity over quality and simply adding more games to the library isn’t going to massively turn things around for the beleaguered headset.

Speaking to Bloomberg, IDC analyst Francisco Geronimo stated, “I suspect a price cut on the PSVR 2 will be needed to avoid a complete disaster of their new product”. These sentiments were echoed in our review, with the high £529.99 starting price – costing more than the PS5 itself – being one of our key qualms.

So what is PlayStation to do? Having just released this device earlier this year, a price cut seems unlikely anytime soon. It’s not clear that would be a long-term solution either, with PlayStation likely wanting to grow this market and justify its position in it by making plenty of money – no matter how much appeal I think a lower price could add.

Unsurprisingly, it’s all about those good ol’ games, and PlayStation should know this better than anyone, with its existing intellectual property being its big strength. I myself would have likely switched to Xbox from PlayStation, if not for my love of God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man and The Last of Us.

One of the bright sparks of the current PSVR 2 gaming library is Horizon Call of the Mountain, showcasing the hardware’s new and improved visuals – and wider capabilities.

I’ll, again, hand over to our reviewer Ryan Jones to emphasise the point I’m making, “The big star is undoubtedly Horizon Call of the Mountain, which is the best VR game I’ve played since Half-Life Alyx … I really hope Sony continues to supply the PlayStation VR 2 with more first-party exclusives.” PlayStation clearly has a level of quality it demands for its big titles and, as such, the company choosing to go with these games for PSVR 2 ensures some stellar experiences would come down the line for those willing to invest.

Horizon Call of the Mountain
Horizon Call of the Mountain

If PlayStation released further expansive VR titles based on my favourite IPs that it has so successfully used thus far, that’s what would begin to change the conversation. Horizon fans are likely already ecstatic with what they’ve been given if they picked up the PSVR 2. But, to capture more of its console-wielding audience, more virtual reality titles dreamed up from its exclusives are needed – and it’d be great to see them at the PlayStation Showcase.

Not quite the PlayStation IP I’ve touted but it is worth getting excited about the incoming Resident Evil 4 remake for VR as well as Beat Saber heading to PSVR 2. And, a cheeky Half-Life: Alyx port would be glorious but there’s nothing beyond straw-clutching rumours on that front for now.

Unfortunately, this may be all there is to cling onto for now though. Those considering a PSVR 2 can hope for more big launches coming to the platform that will entice them but, with game development lasting years, the plans are already locked in. What is planned for the PlayStation Showcase, and the next couple of years, is already set in stone – here’s hoping it involves a grunting dad.

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