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Sony’s PlayStation VR headset will cost like a new game console

When Sony Corp. unveiled its project Morpheus early last year, it was clear that the company was very serious about equipping its PlayStation 4 video game console with a virtual reality head-mounted display. The PlayStation VR device will finally hit the market in 2016 and will be accompanied by a set of games. Unfortunately, the HMD will be expensive and far not all gamers will likely buy it.

Sony is on track to introduce its PlayStation VR headset in the first half of next year, according to Andrew House, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment. The company does not reveal pricing of its device just yet, but the unit will be priced as a new gaming platform, said Mr. House in an interview with Bloomberg news-agency. Right now Sony PlayStation 4 costs $399 in the U.S. and £299 in the U.K.

The first generation VR headsets are not going to be truly affordable because they will use a lot of custom and expensive hardware. It is expected that Oculus VR’s Rift will cost from $300 to $400. Therefore, it is not surprising that Sony’s PlayStation VR will cost like a PlayStation 4.

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Final specifications of the commercial PlayStation VR headset are unknown. The pre-production HMDs that Sony has been demonstrating to public for a while feature a 5.7” OLED panel with 1920*1080 (960*1080 per eye) resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and 100-degrees field of view.

Sony intends to ship more than 10 virtual reality titles for its headset next year. At the Tokyo Game Show the company already demonstrated 10 playable VR titles for its PlayStation VR head-mounted display. The demos included its own RIGS: Machine Combat League, a first person robot shooter, and Square Enix Holdings Co.’s Final Fantasy XIV.

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KitGuru Says: As it appears, Sony has no intention to sell the PlayStation VR at price-points below cost in order to popularize virtual reality gaming on PlayStation 4. The reasons for such approach are not clear. Perhaps, Sony does not want to lose money on its headset. Or maybe the company just does not believe that VR in general will gain traction with this generation of consoles and it makes no sense to subsidize hardware.

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