Let’s address the elephant in the room: Sony’s PlayStation VR virtual reality headset has enjoyed limited success in the consumer market. Convincing hardcore and casual gamers to don a virtual reality headset and play games with slightly inferior graphics has been a bit of a tough sell. At this point in time, many gamers are set in their ways. They enjoy gaming on traditional consoles with a conventional controller and a TV set. Yet all hope is not lost for Sony and its virtual reality technology. The company will continue to sell PlayStation VR hardware and software titles to those who game from home. But, Sony will also slightly pivot by targeting the commercial market to expand its share of the virtual reality market.
Sony Sets its Sights on the Commercial Market
Sony executives have made no secret of the fact that the company will soon market its virtual reality headset beyond the realm of consumers who game in the privacy of their own homes. The technology will soon be marketed as a commercial device in response to somewhat disappointing sales growth in the consumer realm. Though Sony is on target to meet its internal goal of selling a million PSVR devices in six months, some believe the failure to reach a million units sold by February of 2017 has caused company executives to sour on the VR consumer market.
Sony’s video game arm has created an internal group charged with advancing the company’s commercial VR push. This location-based entertainment team will look for partners across various commercial industries in an effort to expand the company’s VR footprint. This pivot indicates the electronics powerhouse is struggling to extend the impact of its PSVR technology. Some wonder if the buzz surrounding the Sony’s VR hardware and software titles has faded much quicker than company’s executives anticipated.
Sony-run VR Facilities?
Industry experts have pondered whether Sony will eventually run its own VR-oriented facilities. At the moment, it does not appear that Sony will take on such a massive undertaking. Yet company representatives have not ruled out the possibility of doing so at some point in the future. At the moment, Sony is zeroing in on heightening awareness of its virtual reality technology. The hope is that spreading PSVR to commercial outlets will provide users with a hands-on experience that inspires them to purchase the technology for in-home use or return to the commercial enterprise for additional use.
Where Will Sony VR Appear in the Future?
Though Sony will likely look for Japanese commercial partners to expand its VR footprint in the coming months, the company will eventually team up with venues across North America and beyond as time progresses. The most likely commercial targets are theme parks and video game arcades. Perhaps Sony will eventually open its own virtual reality arcades in major cities like Starbreeze has planned for Los Angeles. It would be the perfect opportunity to put Sony’s VR advancements on display for the masses to enjoy.
VR and Commercial Gaming Will Bring Fitness to the Masses
Those who follow advancements in virtual reality are well aware that there is plenty of untapped potential in the context of fitness. As time progresses, a steady stream of fitness-oriented VR titles and accessories are being released. The appeal of these VR exercise games is that they are entertaining and also encourage game players to get off the couch and move.
Sony’s decision to target the commercial realm will put its virtual reality creations directly in the spotlight for people of all walks to access and enjoy. It will also force their developers to create experiences that completely captivate the players, which means a total body experience that compels far beyond the comfort of a couch. Many virtual reality games already require considerable physical movement that is translated in real-time to the virtual realm through high-tech tracking devices. It is certainly possible that Sony’s VR expansion to commercial enterprises will encourage millions of people to engage in physically stimulating virtual reality gaming experiences. Perhaps Sony will eventually bring fitness-oriented VR games to fitness facilities, school gyms, arcades, theme parks and other commercial outlets. If the response is there, you might even see Sony teaming up with fitness companies and have franchises across the country. This enhanced exposure will undoubtedly inspire countless people to adopt a virtual reality physical fitness regimen that improves health and reduces medical costs–all while just playing games and not even realizing that their exercising!