To fully appreciate virtual reality, you have to try it yourself. That’s why retailers have demo stations set up for HTC Vive and PlayStation VR headsets throughout the United States. But that’s not what is happening for PSVR in Japan.
Sony Interactive Entertainment has released the impressive-but-flawed VR add-on system for its PlayStation 4 console in its home country, but the publisher is not pushing hard with in-person demonstrations. Instead, retailer outlets have a PSVR on display that they keep locked down at all times. It makes it look like Sony’s VR system is in a little cage because the technology is too dangerous or something. Mark Macdonald, vice president of business development at Rez Infinite (PSVR launch title) developer Enhance Games, noted that Sony hasn’t done much advertising at all for its $500 headset system in Japan.
We’ve asked Sony if any demo stations are hiding around Japan or if it has plans to roll them out, and we’ll update this post with any new information.
“So far, Sony hasn’t managed to set up actual VR demos in Japanese stores,” gaming-industry analyst Dr. Serkan Toto wrote in a tweet. “[Sony] chains their headsets and has them displayed at random points-of-sale.”
No, Sony. This isn't the right marketing to try to bring VR to the mainstream.
It's as ridiculous as this in *every* major store in Tokyo. pic.twitter.com/QfwxBO94Bb
— Dr. Serkan Toto (@serkantoto) December 1, 2016
It’s possible that Sony is holding off on a full retail-marketing blitz until it can produce more VR units for Japan. As I mentioned, the publisher did have demonstrations at retailers like GameStop in the U.S., so it clearly understands the importance of letting people try the tech for themselves. Maybe once Sony feels like it has saturated stores in America for the holiday season, it will shift some of its resources back to Japan. The United States has more PS4 systems than any other country in the world, and Japan has lagged in terms of hardware sales as that country shifts more and more of its game-related spending to mobile devices.