This week Sony confirmed release date and price details for its upcoming DualSense Edge PS5 controller. The premium pad appears to be PlayStation’s answer to the Xbox Elite controller, but its eyewatering price has got me very worried about how much the PSVR 2 will cost when it launches next year.
A recent PlayStation Blog post (opens in new tab) confirmed that the DualSense Edge will launch in January and initially retail for $199/£209. That price was immediately met with backlash as interested PS5 owners balked at the idea of spending more than a third of the price of the next-gen console itself on just a controller.
With Sony placing the DualSense Edge at the high end of the luxury controller market, I’m starting to worry that the same fate will befall the PSVR 2 in 2023. And an off-putting price could have a damaging impact on the long-term potential of the virtual-reality headset, not to mention my own bank account.
Sony isn’t afraid to be unpopular on price
A quick glance at Sony’s own announcement post when the price of the DualSense Edge was confirmed tells you everything you need to know. Sony won't be afraid to charge a high premium for its luxury controller at launch.
The comments section of the PlayStation Blog post are filled with PS5 owners less than impressed at being asked to cough up $200 for a controller. Granted, the DualSense Edge is a controller with plenty of extra bells and whistles but it's still a steep entry cost.
It must be noted that we can’t judge the overall value of the DualSense Edge until we’ve actually tested it ourselves, but the pre-release optics of such a high price are not exactly good.
Furthermore, earlier this year Sony took the almost unprecedented move of raising the price of the PS5 in select markets around 18 months after the console’s original launch. In regions such as the U.K., buying Sony’s flagship console today is actually more expensive than it was in 2021. This is the direct opposite trend that tech products typically follow. Usually, they get cheaper over time, not more expensive. Although, this trend has become more common over the last couple of years.
Fortunately, the PS5 price hike hasn’t come to the U.S. as of yet (likely become of the relative strength of the US dollar), but it’s more evidence that Sony is feeling bullish when it comes to pricing its PlayStation products.
PSVR 2 will likely be seriously premium
Earlier this year the full spec sheet for the PSVR 2 was revealed, and it's primed to blow its predecessor out of the water, and then some. It’s shaping up to not just be one of the most popular VR headsets on the market, but also a seriously powerful one.
|Resolution (per eye)||960x1080||2000x2040|
|Refresh Rate||90Hz, 120Hz||90Hz, 120Hz|
|Field of View (approx)||100 degrees||110 degrees|
|Cameras||None||Four in-built headset cameras|
|Feedback||None||Single in-built motor|
|Connection||USB-A, HDMI||USB-A, HDMI USB-C|
|Audio||Built-in microphone and stereo headphone jack||Built-in microphone and stereo headphone jack|
The PSVR 2 headset will offer significantly boosted visual fidelity with 4K resolution, HDR support and a 110-degree field of view. It’ll also pack an OLED display, with an expected resolution per eye of 2000x2040 (a massive leap from the original PSVR’s 960x1080 per eye). The headset will support a refresh rate of up to 120Hz.
Foveated rendering, which lessens the details of assets in your peripheral vision to maximize available power, has also been confirmed. The device will offer headset-based controller tracking through an integrated camera embedded in the VR headset itself and will also be capable of eye-tracking.
PSVR 2 also packs an impressive range of sensory features. Headset feedback is the biggest addition, with a single built-in motor adding vibration to the headset. This can, for example, simulate the feeling of an object passing close to your head. This will be complemented by 3D Audio tech, and the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers offered by the PSVR 2 Sense controller will be included in the PSVR 2 Sense controllers.
Considering all these improvements, it’s hard to see the PSVR 2 being sold at anything less than $399, but I personally think $499 is more likely. That would position the headset at the same price point as the PS5 console itself, and $100 more expensive than the Oculus Rift S.
However, with Sony’s current aggressive pricing strategy there is a real possibility in my view that it could opt for an even higher price, perhaps $549 isn't off the table. Regions such as the U.K. that are currently experiencing higher costs of goods seem particularly likely to experience an inflated price on the PSVR 2.
A high price could hold back PSVR 2
My biggest concern about the PSVR 2 releasing at a price point around$499 isn’t just that my bank account would be drained by a pre-order. Such a prohibitive price could result in the headset failing to pick up enough steam to keep developers interested in making games for it.
In order for the PSVR 2 to be continually supported with new software for years to come it obviously needs to have a big enough player base to justify the cost of developing games for it. If the PSVR 2 is simply too expensive for most people to purchase, then it may see less software overall, which will lead to fewer unit sales, and then the cycle repeats until the PSVR 2 winds up like the PS Vita — a great device that was ultimately neglected and left to die by Sony.
Of course, Sony seems fully committed to virtual reality gaming, and has even recently acquired new studios that specialize in VR software to bolster its own development arm. Flagship VR exclusive games like Horizon Call of the Mountain and The Walking Dead Saints & Sinners 2 have already been confirmed. Plus, a port of the popular VR game Half-Life: Alyx has been long-rumored. So at least during the launch window the PSVR 2 highly unlikely to have a software problem.
Sony is making another big bet on VR so it would seem highly likely that the PSVR 2 will have a shelf life that will least stretch as long as the PS5’s. Nevertheless, I’m hoping the high price of the DualSense Edge isn’t a harbinger of things to come for the PSVR 2.