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PS VR Hits the Streets

Burbank, Calif.—Artem Marashan, a 26-year-old from North Hollywood, Calif., was among the first in line outside a Best Buy store the night of Oct. 12, waiting for hours to get his hands on the $399 PlayStation VR system the second it was released.

He made just one mistake: he hadn’t thought to take the day off from work Thursday.

“I’ve been waiting for [virtual reality] my whole life and now it’s here,” he said. “I tried it before [buying it] and the gaming experience satisfies. I’d watch anything in virtual reality, movies, sports, a UFC fight.”

There were maybe 30 people in all lined up with Marashan, before Best Buy stores on the West Coast began selling the system a 9 p.m. local time. Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) sold out three separate waves of preorders for the system, and retailers like GameStop and Best Buy both anticipated quick sellouts of the limited supply of systems they had at launch.

That was why Steve White, 31 from nearby Glendale was also in line on a work night. “If I don’t get it now, it will sell out,” he said, adding that he’d never played with virtual reality before. “I got the wife’s approval to spend the money, but she’ll probably get to play with it first. Maybe she’ll be charitable.”

New research from Frank N. Magid Associates shows the PS VR system number two, behind only the Samsung Gear VR, among VR hardware sets consumers are interested in purchasing during the next 12 months, with 26% of respondents saying they’ll buy one. Among all U.S. consumers 42% said they are very or somewhat interested in VR.

“Virtual reality has grabbed many consumers’ attention over the last few years”, said Magid president Mike Vorhaus. “Our research shows that consumers understand how compelling VR is and that many different applications for VR interest Americans.”

And recent data from SuperData Research has the PS VR as the No. 1 VR hardware by the end of the year, with 2.6 million sold, beating the 2.3 million units sold of the Samsung Gear VR.

“With the announcement of Google's Daydream and the lifting of the press embargo on the PS VR, the effort to woo consumers with virtual reality gaming is reaching full steam,” said Stephanie Llamas, director of research and insights for SuperData. “The variety in offerings and price points testify both of the major firms making an appeal to the consumer market and to third-party developers.”