PS5 VR Shortage: A Look Behind the Curtain of Sony’s Debacle

PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan sat down with Washington Post reported to both confirm that a new PS5 VR is coming and explain the main reason behind the console shortage. Ryan noted that development kits for the new VR set would be out soon, but he was not ready for details like specs or horsepower.

In even better news, the new PSVR system for the PS5 is set to be a smoother and lighter experience, less bulky and full of wires—no more being wired up to the hardware, the PS4, the TV, and the PSVR processor. As Ryan explained to the Post: “Generational leaps allow you to sweep up the advances in technology … it gives us a chance to apply lessons learned.” Including what’s needed to attain a simple, one-cord hookup. Additionally, gamers will benefit from the upgrades of the DualSense controller. You can expect incredibly precise haptic feedback and really feel like you are in control of your movements and actions.

A day after Ryan’s interview, Senior Vice President, Platform Planning & Management Hideaki Nishino posted on the official PS website to expound: “One of the innovations we’re excited about is our new VR controller, which will incorporate some of the key features found in the DualSense wireless controller, along with a focus on great ergonomics.”

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While Ryan did not give any specific dates for release, Washington Post writer Gene Park pointed back to another interview in 2020, where Ryan noted Sony’s interest in VR and estimated more information come 2021. Ryan also noted back then:

“I think we’re more than a few minutes from the future of VR. PlayStation believes in VR. Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment. Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that. And we’re very pleased with all the experience that we’ve gained with PlayStation VR, and we look forward to seeing where that takes us in the future.”

But like all businesses in the year 2020, Sony did not escape setbacks from the pandemic of COVID-19. In fact, Ryan explained, that is one major reason why there is a shortage of PS5 consoles. Apart from having to fight off scalpers at every sale, Sony is also having to compete with other retailers just to get the parts necessary to build the consoles, competing with businesses from rival Xbox to consumer electronics retailers due to a global shortage of semiconductor chips. Smartphone companies are the main competition for processors. Ryan notes that he’s very sorry for these delays—despite sales exceeding four million through the end of last December. They managed to hit their sales expectations, but they also had to face a myriad of disappointed gamers who even today are constantly refreshing product pages to try and catch the next wave of stock.

“Demand was greater than we anticipated,” Ryan admitted. “That, along with the complexities of the supply chain issues, resulted in a slightly lower supply than we initially anticipated.” He also added that production was ramping up steadily. With widespread vaccine roll out and a move towards herd immunity, Ryan has high hopes that economies reopening brick and mortar stores will see a reduction in bot takeovers. In store purchase only will mean a fighting chance for gamers trying to hunt down a console, rather than trying to intercept a purchase before software programs snatch them all up for scalpers.

Until lockdowns are eased, however, Ryan and the team are reintroducing PlayStation’s Play at Home campaign, giving away titles like Ratchet and Clank to help folks keep entertained while stuck at home. The campaign, like PS Plus and PS Now, is open to owners of the PS4, as well, so gamers have something to keep them occupied while waiting for the next batch of PS5s to hit shelves. The first title under the campaign’s launch, “Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection,” saw 10 million downloads. “Ratchet and Clank” was chosen as the next title to help build hype for the PS5 upcoming exclusive title, “Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart” releasing this summer.

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