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Rumor mill: Word on the street is that Sony's PS VR2 pre-orders were disappointing. As such, insiders say the company is allegedly cutting back production. The two million units it expected to sell in the first quarter of 2023 are now projected to take until March 2024 to move. However, Sony says these reports are false, and everything is on track.
With Sony's PS VR2 only three weeks from release, Bloomberg reports that the company has cut shipments of the next-gen VR headset in half due to low pre-orders. The company previously estimated it would ship at least two million units in its launch quarter. However, anonymous sources say those sales are now projected at one million. Sony expects another 1.5 million units to ship between April this year and March 2024.
Bloomberg reached out to Sony for official comment, but a spokesperson said, "the company does not discuss its product inventory." However, shortly after publishing the story, Sony told GamesIndustry.biz that it had not cut PS VR2 production numbers. It says shipping and manufacturing numbers are still on par, vaguely noting it was seeing fan "enthusiasm" for the launch, whatever that means.
"[Sony has] not cut PlayStation VR2 production numbers," the spokesperson claims. "[We are] seeing enthusiasm from PlayStation fans for the upcoming launch, which includes more than 30 titles such as Gran Turismo 7, Horizon Call of the Mountain, and Resident Evil Village."
While a company's official word is usually more reliable versus anonymous leaks, in this case, one has to question whether Sony's PR department is just spinning the bad press. Its official word didn't delve into any specifics, sticking to a vague narrative and further hyping its most prominent launch titles.
On the contrary, Bloomberg's sources went into much more detail about the exact numbers and how the shift would affect Sony's supply chain. For example, the insiders said the company informed its display panel vendor to expect fewer orders.
Virtual reality and the "Metaverse" has not taken off like gangbusters as so many companies expected. So it's not a stretch of the imagination to expect PS VR2 pre-orders to be lower than Sony initially imagined. Factor in the fact that the hardware is priced higher than a PlayStation 5, and the economy is in the toilet at the moment, and it becomes clear that the anonymous leak might be a bit more credible than Sony's word.
It's also not surprising that when news of the reduced shipments hit Japanese media outlets this morning, Sony's stock took a significant dip. It has since rebounded to close a few cents from even for the day, but that is still a concern and a motive for Sony's PR department to turn this story around.
Currently, consumers are less concerned about games and more worried about how much eggs cost (have you seen the price of eggs?) Furthermore, the launch lineup is not impressive enough to move the headsets. Of the 30 or so titles coming on day one, only a few stand out.
The big unit-movers by brand recognition alone will be Horizon Call of the Mountain, Resident Evil Village, Gran Turismo 7, and No Man's Sky. Most of those, except Horizon, are free upgrades to customers who own the base game.
Other solid titles that could influence buying behavior for those with money to burn include The Dark Pictures: Switchback, Job Simulator, Moss 1 & 2 Remaster, Rez Infinite, and Thumper. These titles, or their prequels, did well on Sony's first-gen headset. So they have a decent chance to at least help make the next-gen tech a bit more attractive.