My first VR experience was about 2 and a half years ago. A coworker brought his Oculus Rift into the office, strapped it to my head, and I spent 15 minutes looking around a dimly lit room that didn’t actually exist.
The experience left me with nausea, a headache and the stubborn belief that VR would never be more than a forced gimmick.
Bridging the gap between Out-of-home and in-home experiences is PlayStation VR. Given Sony’s impressive sales with the PlayStation 4, Sony’s VR accessory could be on track to be a sweeping sales success.
Let’s see who’s clamoring to buy PlayStation VR.
Let’s start with some good news for VR right off the bat. I’d venture to guess even a year ago; you’d have much more people responding “I have no idea what VR is.” 88% of people responded in a way that indicates they are aware of VR, which means selling this technology isn’t about education. People know what VR is, they just need to see more of what it does.
For the sake of clarity, let’s remove the VR oblivious and refer to the data below for the rest of the story.
Only 4% indicate they’ll pull the trigger and purchase the PlayStation VR. Only 8% own or plan to own VR products soon. Let’s dig into why people aren’t buying, and ways Sony might be able to boost sales.
Make it Cheaper
It’s a no-brainer. Of course, people are going to buy something if it’s cheaper. But, let’s explore why price could make a difference for Playstation VR sales.
If devoted daily or weekly gamers find Playstation VR too expensive, then it will be even more of a challenge for casual gamers to rationalize purchasing the $399 accessory.
“No, but I’ll buy a VR device of some kind when the price comes down,” was the second most popular response (10%). People who chose this answer are more likely than the general population to play video games daily; however, this group does not play video games as frequently as likely Playstation VR buyers.
Similarly, those who responded “No, but I’ll buy a VR device when the technology matures,” are much more likely than the general population to play video games at least weekly. This group of gamers is more likely to consider price over brand. They too are looking for a deal and are less influenced by brand.
With multiple VR gaming systems hitting the market at one time, Sony has a chance to persuade these gamers to use its system, if they offer a deal.
Naturally, sales would go up if Sony lowered the price of the PlayStation VR, but what might be more enticing for daily gamers would be a bundle deal; encouraging users to buy the Playstation 4 and Playstation VR at a discounted price.
A deal like this could attract the players who are more swayed by price and turn them onto a whole new way to play. There’s a race to get players locked into one of the systems as VR gaming evolves, and a deal like this could bring gamers to Sony over Microsoft or HTC.
Make it Cooler
Early adopters want the next big thing. Sony needs to show gamers and techies what they’re missing out on.
Those who answered, “No, but I own or plan to buy another type of VR device soon” aren’t necessarily frequent gamers, but they do consider themselves early adopters. Interestingly enough, those waiting for the technology to “mature” also categorize themselves as early adopters.
To appeal to these customers, Sony should consider putting effort into “word of mouth” and tech blogging.
People answering “No, but I’ll buy a VR device of some kind when the technology matures” are more likely to tell others about new brands and technology, meaning they want to brag the latest tech. Using grassroots campaigning can make them feel like they’re on the bottom floor of an experience, and could encourage potential buys.
Getting Playstation VR into the hands of elite gamers could help ease fears that the system isn’t “mature” enough to buy.
Make it Family Friendly
Possibly the opposite of making it cooler is making it family friendly. Stay with me here while I walk you through the logic.
Those who answered “No, And I have no intention of buying one,” are more likely to be grandparents. Grandparents, might I add, who seek practical solutions to problems.
According to our syndicated data, over half of Wii owners are parents and/or grandparents. This isn’t what your typical gamer looks like, but it’s a market worth considering. According to our data, 36% of high-frequency players identify as parents or grandparents, and 45% low-frequency gamers belong to the same group. It’s not a majority, but it’s certainly higher than I expected.
Right now, Playstation VR’s offerings mostly consist of one-person shooters and complex franchise games with world building. While they’ll offer some unparalleled visual experiences and gameplay, it’s unlikely Sony can tap into the non-gamer market with these titles.
Devising ways to utilize VR in family friendly titles could help Sony appeal to a group that didn’t even know it was interested in VR.
VR is a new tech frontier, and Sony has the opportunity to create brand advocates with Playstation VR. Selling Playstation 4 and VR in a bundle cold sway price conscious gamers, and appealing to them through grassroots efforts using influencers and the tech community could address concerns around the maturity of the tech. And while they’re not the average gamer by any means, parents and grandparents do purchase gaming systems, and making family friendly Playstation VR games could convince reluctant parents to buy the system.