On Tuesday, Sony announced during Game Developers Conference 2016 that its long-awaited PlayStation VR headset will be available in October for $399, which is significantly lower than Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, respectively priced at $599 and $799. Sony also revealed some upcoming video game titles that will be available for PlayStation VR, including an exclusive release of Star Wars: Battlefront VR Experience.
What Brands Need To Do
With the low entry price and the number of game titles available, PlayStation VR may just have a shot at conquering part of the burgeoning consumer VR market, especially considering that Sony has sold over 36 million PS4s that are ready for VR. While virtual reality may still be a few years away from mass adoption (as we predicted in the 2020 section in our Outlook 2016), companies like Sony and Facebook are laying the groundwork for that to happen. Therefore, brands looking to engage consumers with immersive experiences would be smart to start developing their own branded VR content today.
After years of small incremental growth, virtual reality (VR) technology is enjoying a rapid ascent into public consciousness as more brands and services start to experiment with the immersive media platform. This past week saw Flickr, Sony, and ABC News join the growing list of companies creating branded VR experiences:
• Flickr showcased an early preview of a virtual reality experience powered by Oculus DK 2 headset that it hopes to integrate with its photo service.
• Sony rebranded its VR headset previously named Project Morpheus to PlayStation VR, which will reportedly be focused on VR gaming.
• ABC News launched its first VR experience to give viewers a 360-degree tour of Syria’s capital shot by Jaunt VR cameras.
What Brands Should Do
Besides the three brands mentioned above, Birchbox, Marriott, and others are also developing their own branded VR content. We expect VR to be a niche market in 2016 in the same way that smartphones were a niche market in 2007. Therefore, it’d be wise for brands to prepare a VR strategy to stay ahead of the curve.
The Lab currently has two VR headsets—an Oculus Rift and a Samsung Gear—ready for demo in the Lab. Virtual reality is something that has to be experienced to be understood. So come by the Lab and get a VR demo to see just how engaging it can be, and understand why consumers would be excited by this technology.
Source: Engadget & The Verge & The Verge
Sony’s PlayStation 4 just received a major update, adding more cloud storage and the ability to stream game footage live on YouTube. Already equipped with the capability to stream gameplay live over Twitch, this new added support for YouTube would make streams visible on its newly launched YouTube Gaming mobile app and channel, no doubt helping to attract a bigger audience.
What Brands Should Do
With the rapid rise of eSports, also known as competitive gaming, a whole new media platform largely built upon livestreaming platforms like Twitch is now drawing hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide. Sony’s decision to support YouTube Gaming will no doubt further expand the reach of eSports. Therefore, instead of dismissing it like Jimmy Kimmel recently did and alienating a significant segment of young, digital savvy audience, brands of all types should get on board with eSport, which some big-name brands like Coca-Cola, Red Bull, and Samsung are already vying to sponsor.
Source and header image: PlayStation.Blog
Sony launched PlayStation Now, an all-you-can-play game subscription service back in January on PlayStation 4, but its gameplay experience left much to be desired. Now, Sony is looking to fix that with a new dedicated subscription app. Launched today on the PlayStation store, the new application aims to streamline the navigation process and make it easier for users to find the game they want to play among the over 125 games currently available for streaming.
For now, Sony charges $19.99 per month, or $44.99 for 3 months for the gameplay streaming service, which are significantly cheaper than buying individual games for dedicated gamers. That said, the games are not the current titles which typically sell for $59.99 each but are older games which might retail for $19.99 or less and were released for the Playstation 3, not the Playstation 4.
Following the subscription-based model that Netflix helped popularize, it may not be too far off to imagine that Sony would start selling gaming consoles on a discounted price in order to get more players to use its streaming service and thus locked in its ecosystem. Microsoft tried this strategy towards the end of the Xbox 360’s life in 2012.
In the past few years, the all-you-can-consume subscription-model has quickly swept the entire media industry – be it news, TV, or music, every media owner started selling consumers access to their content on a month-to-month basis. In this regard, gaming is the latest addition to the subscription craze, and we think this new model is most likely here to stay.
Read original story on: WSJ
Sony first announced its over-the-top TV streaming service PlayStation Vue last November, and now 4 months later, the company is ready to officially enter the crowded and ever-shifting OTT market. The subscription-based service will first launch commercially in New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia in the next two weeks, with nationwide rollout planned by the end of the year.
Read original story on: The Verge
Earlier this week, Sony announced that it has started spinning off its audio and video divisions, after a similar decision to spin off its television division last year. This means that in a few years, Sony would exit the laptop, smartphone, and TV markets entirely, leaving only its movie studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and its PlayStation division as company’s core business.
Such focus seems necessary since Sony’s mobile division reportedly cost the company over $1.5 billon in Q2 2014, while the gaming division earned the company $200 million in profit. It’s also safe to conclude that failure to compete with rival Asian tech giant Samsung, especially in the smartphone and TV markets, played an important part in Sony’s drastic decision.
Read original story on: The Verge
Sony announced an ambitious plan to launch web-based TV service on its gaming platform PlayStation, with initial testing in NYC followed by a broad rollout set for Q1 2015. PlayStation Vue, as the service is dubbed, will cover all major broadcast and some cable networks, which distinguishes it from the majority of the OTT streaming services available right now. However, it will need to be priced appropriately in order to compete with traditional TV providers.
Our virtual reality study might have some surprising conclusions, but what’s certainly concrete is that Playstation officially has skin in the VR game with its Morpheus device. And it’s gotten some attention and a run-out at E3 this year, with celebrities like Conan trying on the device and experiencing a HD VR gaming environment. No matter your gender or level of interest, there’s no denying that virtual reality headsets are a thing of the present as they continue to get more consumer-facing, and prime-time ready.
Just when you thought you had a handle on all the over-the-top platforms, Playstation announces the North America release of Playstation TV. The $99 device will stream PS Vita and select PS 3 games to your TV in addition to media services like Hulu and Netflix. More importantly, it enables remote play for current PS4 owners who can stream games to additional TVs without the need to move their main console.
When Sony CEO Kaz Hirai took the stage at CES, most people were expecting something like the Playstation Now, one of many major product announcements he made. In essence, PSNow is a cloud gaming service for TVs, consoles, and phones; the service debuted at CES where test participants were able to play The Last Of Us streamed over Wi-Fi. The service is coming to a closed Beta at the end of the month, and is expected to roll out at the end of the summer, at which point it could become a very serious competitor to Steam.
What most people weren’t expecting, however, was for Hirai to announce other cloud-based services for live TV, DVR, and Video On Demand, which is precisely what he did. It’s more ambitious than the streaming PSNow, and it looks to build out the Sony Entertainment Network in a big way, drawing consumers into a network by bolstering content and storage options, much like 4K and Streaming TV providers have done thus far at CES this year. If Sony can pull it off as well, it will certainly be a big step towards the unified Only-Sony device network that Hirai has wanted for a while now.