Sony Sets Date for Release of Its New Virtual Reality Headset

Sony's PlayStation VR
Sony's PlayStation VR
Jonathan Vanian

Sony’s much-anticipated virtual reality headset will be released in the U.S. on Oct. 13.

Shawn Layden, chairman of Sony’s video game development studio SIE Worldwide, revealed the release date of the Sony PlayStation VR headset on Monday in Los Angeles during the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.

“2016 is a seminal moment in virtual reality,” said Layden. “The time has finally come for everyone to enjoy virtual reality in their own homes.”

Sony kicked off its virtual reality news by showing a demo of a new installment of the popular Resident Evil action-horror video game franchise that will work on both Sony’s PlayStation 4 gaming console as well as the new virtual reality headset. Layden said the new Resident Evil 7 “will be playable from beginning to end on the PlayStation VR.”

In March, Sony said that its virtual reality headset would be available in October for $399. The VR headset requires a Sony PlayStation 4 gaming console (sold for roughly $350) to operate. Additional Sony VR controllers and a special camera required for the VR headset will cost consumers another $100.

Competing VR headsets like Facebook’s (FB) Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive retail for $599 and $799 respectively. Unlike Sony’s VR headset that requires a Sony PlayStation 4 gaming console, the Oculus Rift and the Vive require a powerful personal computer.

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Layden bragged that Sony has sold over 40 million PlayStation 4 gaming consoles, which he said have enough power to run virtual reality video games. Layden believes that with millions of people owning the PlayStation 4 console, Sony will have a better chance at popularizing virtual reality technology than its competitors.

Some of the new VR video games that will be released will include some of the biggest video game franchises as well as “new franchises,” he added. Among some of the VR video games that Sony executives said are in the works are new games based on Star Wars, Batman, and the Final Fantasy video game franchise.

Last week, Sony said that it is developing a more powerful version of its current PlayStation 4 video game console that will support 4K resolution and presumably VR video games that can be displayed in higher quality. Sony did not say when the new console would be released and how much it would cost, but it did say that video games developed for the new console would also work with the current PlayStation 4 model. Sony executives did not discuss the new console during the press event.

Microsoft (MSFT) also announced its virtual reality ambitions on Monday during E3. The technology giant said it will release a new gaming console, currently called Project Scorpio, during the 2017 holiday season that will be powerful enough for high-quality virtual reality video games and movies.

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Microsoft did not say how much the new gaming console would sell for or which VR headsets will be compatible with the device.


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