While many tech enthusiasts and gamers have shrugged their shoulders at virtual reality headsets, new statistics show that there is a ton of potential for Sony to leverage the PS5 for a possible next-gen PSVR and put more pressure on the Xbox Series X.
According to a report in RoadtoVR by Tipatat Chennavasin, who is a general partner in the Venture Reality Fund and an investor in hit games like Best Saber, over 100 VR titles broke $1 million in revenue in 2019, and the top titles cleared $10 million.
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And while the Oculus Quest gets most the credit for being the best VR headset, the PSVR is still going strong as well. In fact, the numbers from this report show that the PSVR had more apps crossing $1 million than other VR headsets, and it’s estimated that the PSVR alone exceeded $110 million in software revenue for last year.
PSVR for PS5 on the way?
Sony’s lead system architect Mark Cerny told Wired last April that the PSVR headset is compatible with the PS5, and it’s reasonable to assume that a sequel will be on the way for the new console — even if it doesn’t appear in the first year.
In January, Sony announced that it had sold more than 5 million PSVR headsets, which is up from 4.2 million headsets sold in March of 2019.
Now three years after launch, the PSVR doesn’t have the most advanced hardware. The 5.7-inch OLED display gives each eye 960 x 1080p resolution, and it has a refresh rate between 90 and 120Hz.
The latest Oculus Rift S has a resolution of 1280 x 1440 pixels per eye with a refresh rate of 80Hz. And the lower cost Oculus Quest has a resolution of 1440 x 1600 per eye and a 72Hz refresh rate. A new PSVR for the PS5 would likely match or exceed these specs for a more immersive and smoother game experience.
Xbox Series X: Don't expect VR anytime soon
Could Microsoft respond with a VR headset of its own for the Xbox Series X? Maybe, but don’t count on it being anytime soon.
In an interview with GamerTag radio (as reported by Windows Central), Xbox head Phil Spencer had some valid reasons for not jumping into VR, saying that it’s “not as simple as plugging your headset. You have to redo the dash[board]. And “there’s a bunch of work that goes into it.”
But he also left the door open to embracing VR if the market grows. “We’re never going to close our eyes to where things are going, Spencer said. I hope it gets bigger. I hope that’s just so important that there would be a no-brainer for us to support it.”
Maybe Microsoft is focusing more of its energy on mixed reality and augmented reality for the Xbox Series X. The company is already doing that on the enterprise side with the Hololens 2. But as Microsoft mulls its options Sony could possibly create a killer feature for the PS5 that would give it an impressive edge in the next console wars.