Virtual reality hasn't quite taken off in the way many analysts predicted, especially when it comes to Sony's PlayStation VR for the PS4. Perhaps as a way to sell the virtual reality concept to more consumers, Sony is moving forward with plans to install PlayStation VR units in Japanese arcades.
Leading this initiative will be a new location-based entertainment department within Sony Interactive Entertainment. Besides arcades, Sony will reportedly be looking for other partners as well, though it will not be creating its own PlayStation VR entertainment center or arcade. It's possible these plans could change if this endeavor proves fruitful, however.
Additional details on Sony's latest PlayStation VR venture are not available at this time, such as the specifications of the units Sony will place in arcades and what games will be used to showcase the technology. Since arcades typically house more expensive hardware than people can purchase for their homes, it's possible Sony will create higher-end PlayStation VR units for arcades. As for what games will be on display, one has to imagine that Sony will use the highest-rated PlayStation VR games available, like Rez Infinite, Thumper, and Batman: Arkham VR.
It's also unknown if Sony plans on adding PlayStation VR units to arcades in areas outside of Japan as well. The arcade scene in Japan is significantly more active than in other parts of the world, so it's possible that Sony's new location-based entertainment department will only operate in Japan. However, if Sony sees PlayStation VR home sales rise in Japan after it begins its arcade initiative in the region, it may be convinced to try the same thing elsewhere, even with less arcades to partner with.
Ultimately, Sony's plan could help circumvent the main issue with selling people on VR, which is that people have to try it themselves to understand the appeal of the technology. Setting up PlayStation VR units in arcades could give consumers an easy way to try out virtual reality without having to participate in awkward in-store demonstrations, and it may very well convince them to buy PSVR for their home. Of course, Sony will also need to end the hardware's post-launch drought if it wants to sell more units, as PlayStation VR has barely received any new titles in 2017 besides the non-exclusive Resident Evil 7 and the poorly received Ghostbusters VR game.
PlayStation VR is available now.
Source: The Wall Street Journal