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Sony going commercial with PlayStation VR after making slow progress with consumers

Sony going commercial with PlayStation VR after making slow progress with consumers

April 5, 2017 | By Chris Kerr

April 5, 2017 | By Chris Kerr
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Sony will start pushing its PlayStation VR virtual reality headset as a commercial device after making "slower-than-expected" progress in the consumer arena, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing people familiar with the matter.

Sony's video game wing has established a "location-based entertainment" unit tasked with leading the commercial VR charge and finding partners in various industries, the report said. 

It's a move that suggests the console maker is having trouble sustaining the immediate impact of PSVR after the initial launch buzz has worn off. 

Although Sony says it doesn't plan on running its own facilities right now, it hasn't ruled that possibility out completely. As it stands, the company is primarily focused on raising awareness and giving people the opportunity to go hands-on with the nascent tech.

Video game arcades and theme parks could be targets for company, with Sony thought to be initially focused on finding partners in Japan.

If the firm does take that route, it'd be following in the footsteps of companies like Payday 2 developer Starbreeze, which last year outlined plans to open a virtual reality arcade in L.A. to showcase it's own tech and bring premium VR experiences to the masses.

By February this year around 915,000 PlayStation VR headsets had been sold. That put Sony on track to meet its internal target of selling 1 million devices in six months. 

Sony Interactive Entertainment global CEO, Andrew House, seemed pleased with those numbers and consumer appetite for the PSVR in general, telling the New York Times "you literally have people lining up outside stores when they know stock is being replenished."

Still, he warned about the dangers of getting "hyped up," and said that certain voices within the company, himself included, were keen to temper expectations. 

"It’s the classic case in any organization -- the guys who are on the front end in sales are getting very excited," he continued. "You have to temper that with other voices inside the company, myself among them, saying let’s just be a little bit careful."

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