Sony announced March 15 that its long-awaited PlayStation VR virtual reality headset will be available this October. The goggles will connect to the company’s PlayStation 4 console.
TIME sat down with Sony Computer Entertainment America President and CEO Shawn Layden at the 2016 Game Developers Conference to discuss PlayStation VR. Here are five of Layden’s most interesting answers.
On the PlayStation VR’s $399 price tag…
We wanted to make sure that we came out with a product that could be available to the mass, 36-plus million PS4 users out there. We think that pricing it similar to the price of a console is the right marketing space to be in. Luckily we have the engineers on board, led by the teams that created the PS4, that we’re able to realize that product with that quality at that price level.
On being a gateway to virtual reality…
Most of our customers we imagine will enter and stay. It’s not something that articulates over time. If you’re asking if we feel pressure, we always feel pressure, in so far as we always want to deliver to the expectations of our fans, of our customers. But I think we’re at a really good place. I think that we’re announcing it today with a launch release in October to give us that really important time period where we can go and evangelize the VR story. As you can appreciate, as much as we love TIME magazine, just reading the articles doesn’t really tell someone what a VR experience is, until they put the thing on their head.
On marketing the PlayStation VR…
We’re partnering very closely with our big retail partners to come up with experiential activities over the next six months before launch. We’ll have a big presence at E3, of course, as we always do. And I think you might even see some of our — you know, we have these PlayStation trucks that we send across America to different events, like college campuses or sporting events. We use that kind of outreach to create more opportunities for people to get their hands on it. We really want people to get their hands on it. We want to make sure our retail partners, sales associates, they need to understand that really closely.
On when we’ll know an exact release date…
We haven’t nailed that one down yet. It’s still a confluence of software pipelines and hardware manufacturing deadlines. But I hope we get to have that message sooner rather than later.
On whether PlayStation VR is just an accessory…
We’re positioning it more as a platform than a peripheral . . . this is a complete different way to experience a thing. We believe now is the time that there is a, not only an interest and a hunger for it, but the creative teams we’re working with are really excited by what they can realize, what they can visualize.
I’m pretty sure that right now no one can answer the question about, what is the killer app for VR? But the answer will reveal itself over time. That’s true of anything. When PlayStation first came out, there were a lot of different experiences there. With PlayStation 1, it was all about fighting games and racing games. But now look that’s changed over time. It’s more action-adventure, it’s more narrative-driven over time.
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