Sony has launched its new $399 Playstation VR headset, with the Japanese electronics group making an affordable entry into the already competitive virtual reality market.
The headset, which is set to be released in the UK later this month, is designed to be fitted into the PlayStation 4, rather than requiring new equipment.
Users must have a PlayStation 4 console, PS4 Slim or the forthcoming PS4 Pro in order to use the new headset, but all of the experiences and games can also be played using a conventional DualShock 4 controller.
Sony is entering a crowded market, with rivals including Facebook’s Oculus. However, according to an IHS market report, the Playstation VR headset could sell as many as 1.4 million units between now and the end of 2016.
The report further predicts that the headset will outsell the PC-based Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, in addition to generating $134 million on VR entertainment, which includes games, apps and experiences in 2016.
Market researcher HIS Technology said in its report: “Sony is well-positioned to build an early lead in the high-end VR headset race.”
Nomura analysts predict that cumulative shipments of all VR headsets are to expand more than 20 times to 40 million by 2020, which along with accessories and other non-game content could be worth $10 billion.
In an interview with Reuters, Mark Zuckerberg, Chief executive of Facebook said the Oculus business will spend $500 million to fund VR content development, and is working on an affordable standalone VR headset not tethered to personal computers or consoles.
As well as Oculus, Sony’s largest gaming rival Microsoft, has revealed plans to release a new Xbox One console in 2017, which is expected to support VR headsets of its partners.