VR gaming market not competitive enough to drive takeup: Sony

VR gaming
REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

CHIBA (Reuters) – Sony Corp’s gaming chief on Friday said the virtual reality gaming market needs more competition to drive adoption of the technology and spur software development, adding the sheer size of Sony’s lead over rivals is cause for discomfort.

Sony’s VR headset has built a dominant position in the nascent market since going on sale last year, undercutting competitors on price and drawing on its sales of 60 million PlayStation 4 consoles, to which the headset is tethered.

“I’m not entirely comfortable being the market leader in VR by such a margin that seems to be happening right now,” Andrew House, chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said in an interview.

“With such a brand new category you want a variety of platforms all doing well to create that rising tide and create the audience.”

Sony has sold more than 500,000 headsets in the three months through June, showed data from IDC, giving it an “unmatched” lead over rivals such Facebook Inc’s Oculus Rift and HTC Corp’s Vive, the researcher said.

Sony’s gaming business has been a driving force in helping the Japanese conglomerate turn around from years of losses in consumer electronics.

The unit expects to post its highest-ever operating profit of 180 billion yen ($1.6 billion) in this financial year through March – a forecast House reaffirmed.

House also said Sony is not seeing any impact on PlayStation sales from the arrival this year of Nintendo’s hybrid handheld-and-home Switch.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey and Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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