Sony unveils a new virtual reality headset for PlayStation to take on Facebook’s Quest as the race to the metaverse heats up
Remember back in October 2021 when Facebook changed its name to Meta to focus on Metaverse? Now, it appears Facebook’s ambition of metaverse is dead on arrival. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has burned about half a trillion dollars since the announcement. The company is now facing existential threats on many fronts, including T
In its first quarterly earnings call since the company’s rebranding, Meta reported a declined profit. Zuckerberg blamed the user decline on TikTok, the short video platform. The blame game didn’t stop there. Zuckerberg also blamed the woes on a combination of other factors, including privacy changes to Apple’s iOS and economic challenges. But now, Meta may have another company to blame next quarter–Sony.
Yesterday, Sony unveiled its next-generation VR headset, PlayStation VR2, together with an updated and final design image of its PlayStation VR2 Sense controller as competition in the virtual reality (VR) space heats up. You may remember back in 2014, Facebook dropped $2 billion to acquire the virtual reality platform because it had a bigger vision for VR as the future of engagement. But the investment doesn’t seem to be paying off.
In a press release, Sony showed off its PSVR 2’s headset design. It’s very similar to Sony’s PSVR model. The company says the new headset is slimmer, lighter and includes an adjustable headband, adjustable scope area, and a lens adjustment dial. It also comes with a vent to keep you cool when gaming.
Unlike Facebook, Sony is taking a completely different path to the metaverse. For example, Sony’s VR headset requires a PlayStation to run, while the $299 Meta Quest 2 can connect to a computer for power-intensive gaming applications or can run wire-free for less intensive tasks. Sony PlayStation VR2 looks similar to the Meta Quest 2 and, like Facebook’s headset, comes with two controllers that you use to navigate in VR.
Although Sony has announced the price of its new VR headset, the new PSVR may attract people who want a headset that seamlessly connects and plays the games they already have on their PlayStation consoles. What we have to remember is Sony’s current market share.
According to Statista, Sony’s PlayStation was the most popular console operating system in 2021, having a market share of around 64.5 percent worldwide. This could spell doom for Facebook. That’s also not including Apple, which is also expected to launch its virtual reality headset in the coming year, according to multiple reports.
In a press release, Sony executive Hideaki Nishino said, “Our goal is to create a headset that will not only become an attractive part of your living room decor, but will also keep you immersed in your game world, to the point where you almost forget you are using a headset or controller.”
Sony also added that the PS VR2 development kits have already been shared with game creators. The new PS VR2 comes with a lot of exciting new features, including stunning visual fidelity in 4K HDR and state-of-art graphical rendering, enhanced tracking such as inside-out camera tracking, new PlayStation VR2 Sense Technology features such as headset feedback, and the new, intuitive PS VR2 Sense controller that creates an incredibly deep feeling of immersion.
Meanwhile, Apple and Sony are the least of Meta’s problems. Microsoft is also betting big on the metaverse. As you probably recall, we reported on January 18 when Microsoft bought video game giant Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion all-cash deal.
So what does the “metaverse” have to do with the Microsoft-Activision Deal? Unlike Meta which just bought Oculus a few years ago, Microsoft owns the Xbox and has been a major player in PC and console gaming for more than 20 years. So, the Redmond, WA-based company isn’t just betting $70 billion on another buzzword of the week.