Sony to Target Commercial Customers (SNE)

Japanese conglomerate Sony Corp. (SNE) is targeting commercial customers for its virtual reality headset PlayStation VR, because the rate of adoption of the virtual reality technology has been slower than expected, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. (See also: Sony Exceeds Its Playstation VR Sales Expectations.)

The Journal cited sources familiar with the plan as saying the video game unit of Sony is planning to market its VR headset to entertainment facilities including video game arcades and theme parks in Japan. This comes about a month after the company said it had instituted a “location-based entertainment” unit. The sources said the new unit would spearhead the new marketing plan by seeking partners across different industries.

While the PlayStation VR has been the most popular high-end VR headsets for homes since its launch last October, most adopters are gadget-loving game enthusiasts, according to research firm IHS Markit. The CEO of Sony’s Interactive Entertainment unit, Andrew House, told The New York Times in February that 915,000 units of the PlayStation VR headset had been purchased as of Feb. 19.

Sony reportedly has an internal goal of selling one million units of the headset in its first six months. While competing VR headset manufacturers Facebook Inc. (FB), HTC and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (SSNLF) haven’t disclosed sales of their VR headsets, another research firm SuperData Research estimated that 243,000 units of Facebook’s Oculus Rift and 420,000 units of the HTC Vive headsets had been sold by the end of 2016.

Although, Sony is likely to meet, or even exceed, its goal of selling 1 million PlayStation VR by this month, analysts say the current adoption rate won’t be enough to kindle the interest of software developers to design applications for virtual reality, according to the Journal. The limited availability of games designed for virtual reality has been making some PlayStation owners to put their VR headsets away, the Journal added.