Sony Jumps After Debuting Affordable Virtual-Reality Headset

  • Playstation VR goggles will go on sale in October for $399
  • Facebook priced Oculus Rift at $599 while HTC Vive costs $799

Sony Corp. climbed to its highest since early January after unveiling a virtual-reality headset priced significantly below rival devices, fueling investor optimism about the Japanese company’s foray into next-generation gaming.

Shares of the electronics maker climbed 3.2 percent to 2,883 yen at the close in Tokyo, their highest level since Jan. 6. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 0.8 percent.

The Playstation VR goes on sale October for $399, the company said Tuesday at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. That’s about half the price tag on the $799 HTC Vive, developed by HTC Corp. and game publisher Valve. Facebook Inc. priced its Oculus Rift at $599. While those headsets may offer higher quality graphics, they also require high-end computers to run. In contrast, Sony’s device will be available to the more than 36 million people who already own a PlayStation 4.

“It’s a really compelling price that aims for mainstream market share and this is key for VR platform success,” said Damian Thong, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in Tokyo. “Sony probably thinks of PlayStation VR as a broader ecosystem push, something that not only will sell more PS4s, but will also encourage users to upgrade to PS5 in the future.”

There’ll be more than 50 games running off Sony’s system by the end of the year, the Tokyo-based company said. Electronic Arts Inc. is making a version of Star Wars Battlefront for the headset, although Sony declined to say whether that game would be among those coming out this year.

Oculus Rift headsets begin shipping to consumers on March 28, marking the beginning of a new commercial era for virtual-reality gaming. Using the headset requires a powerful personal computer that can cost more than $1,000. There’re only about 13 million computers worldwide that have the required capabilities, according to Nvidia Corp., the largest maker of computer-graphics chips.

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