September 26, 2017

Actually it’s Sony leading the VR pack

Sony PlayStationVR

Newsfeed - London, September 25, 2017

While the pundits have been debating who’s the king of the castle in VR wars - and Apple sets out its stall in the AR market with its ARKit for iPhone developers, one veteran company has been quietly taking the lead and resolutely keeping it with little public fanfare. That company is Sony, the innovative giant of the second half of the 20th century that was once seen as cutting edge, but is now very much part of the establishment.

Sony’s VR headset has been outselling the Vive and the Rift, at a lower yet still profitable price, but HTC is making a loss on the Vive and Facebook not doing much better with the Rift.

Yet Sony is strangely uncomfortable with its market leader position. In an interview with Reuters, Andrew House, the chief executive at Sony’s Interactive Entertainment Inc subsidiary, said:

“I‘m not entirely comfortable being the market leader in VR by such a margin that seems to be happening right now,”

He went on to explain that his concern was not that Sony was the market leader per se, but that the extent of that lead and the fact that their main competitors were struggling, did not bode well for the state of that sector of the industry. He felt that it would be better for the industry as a whole - including Sony - if the industry as a whole were in a healthier state.

Given that Sony is not just a maker of hardware, but also  major content provider, House’s attitude is certainly understandable.

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

Technically, Samsung is ahead of Sony in VR market share as a whole - or at least was in the second quarter of 2017. However, in the VR headset market, Sony - with sales of half a million units in the April to June quarter - had a clear lead over HTC and Facebook (owners of the Oculus Rift). The fact that their VR headset is more affordable than the competition, and is tightly-integrated with the PS4 platform, is key to Sony’s market lead.

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Kevin - September 26, 2017 Reply

No sorry Sony is NOT leading the charge. Mobile VR adapters are the #1 VR platform, specifically speaking GearVR made by Oculus for Samsung is #1. Sony is the next highest selling for PS4 owners, then Oculus Rift for Pc then Vive for PC.

Since Oculus has two platforms, mobile being #1 and then Rift on PC, technically speaking Oculus is leading the VR charge NOT sony since they have two platforms. And even if they didn’t, GearVR still outsells PSVr.

    david - September 26, 2017 Reply

    GearVR is a toy. It’s barely one step up from Google Cardboard. Sony is outselling Facebook even allowing for Facebook/Oculus having two hardware offerings on the market. Also Sony have almost closed the gap on Samsung in the second quarter of 2017.

      david - September 28, 2017 Reply

      Sorry I got that wrong. As the Gear VR is made by Oculus, they are technically the leader in the sales figures. But comparing like with like (or almost like) the PSVR is still out there in front.

Paolo Leoncini - October 2, 2017 Reply

To me, PSVR offers far the best visual quality over both the Rift and the Vive, and best integration in a gaming ecosystem.
And, I don’t even consider a 100$ device like the GearVR which requires a 800$ smartphone to be called a VR headset (many units were given away for free along with a S6 or S7 purchase – easy to sell this way, isn’t?).
Finally, before the last sale at rebated price I remember that HTC was ahead in the Rift-Vive competition.

    david - October 4, 2017 Reply

    I would agree that the PSVR is an excellent product and I am very pleased to say that it is now available from

    Regarding the Rift versus Vive race, you’re right. Vive was ahead of the Rift despite the higher price. But the Rift overtook the Vive in a big way in the second quarter of this year with the price cuts in both products. HTC have kept the new price but you still have to pay extra for the deluxe audio strap, so it will be interesting to see what happens in Q3.

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