The last few days have been massive for the video game industry, and now Sony has pulled another rabbit out of the hat. The Japanese corporation has announced the release date for its virtual reality headset, also unveiling some exclusive titles for the PlayStation 4 console. The latter includes new Batman and Spiderman titles, with Sony turning up the heat on its great rival in the video game marketplace, Microsoft.

PlayStation VR Announced By Sony As Video Game War Hots Up

VR coming to Sony fans

However, the announcement of the PlayStation VR headset will undoubtedly garner the most attention. PlayStation VR will go on sale in the United States on October 13, and Sony has already boasted that 50 titles will be available for the peripheral by the end of the calendar year.

Having confirmed the existence of the PlayStation Neo just days ago, Sony’s emphasis at the E3 gaming trade show in Los Angeles has been firmly squared on the future of virtual reality. The PlayStation VR was largely expected to launch in September, but Sony has held the release date back until October, still targeting the key Christmas marketplace.

Early indications on the virtual reality library for the PlayStation VR headset indicates that it will include an exclusive Batman game, Capcom’s Resident Evil 7, Square Enix Holdings’s Final Fantasy XV and a Star Wars title. With this avalanche of exciting news for gamers, Sony share price even responded favorably, with Sony stock up around 0.6% on the back of this information.

PlayStation 4 test

It will be interesting to see how well the PlayStation VR headset works with the existing PlayStation 4, as one industry insider has already suggested that the console will be incapable of running virtual reality satisfactorily. With this in mind, it is suggested that the release of the PlayStation Neo is largely intended to address this virtual reality deficit, and that the PlayStation VR device will ultimately become something of a companion for this souped up console.

Increasingly, 2016 is considered a critical year for virtual reality, and one in which the technology which has long since been predicted as being a central facet of the video games landscape really goes mainstream. Aside from the PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are also available, but Sony certainly looks to have struck a severe blow in the VR battle with the pricing of the PlayStation VR unit.

$399 price tag

Sony has indicated that the price tag of its new virtual reality peripheral will be $399 at launch, and this certainly compares favorably with its existing competition. Indeed, it is just under half the price of the $799 HTC Vive, while Facebook has priced Oculus Rift at $599. The manufacturers of those devices would argue that they offer a higher quality virtual reality experience with superior graphics to the PlayStation VR, but both also require high-end computers in order to run adequately. Clearly Sony intends to offer some form of VR experience to the 40 million people who already own the market-leading PlayStation 4.

There is no doubt that Sony has indicated its ambition for the foreseeable future at the E3 tradeshow. “Our mission is to make PlayStation the best place to play games. This E3 marks one of the strongest lineups in PlayStation history,” Andrew House, head of the company’s games business, stated at E3 as a signal of the company’s intention. Whilst Sony is already significantly ahead of Microsoft in the current generation, it recognizes that the time is right to expand its operation rather than closing ranks.

With Microsoft having confirmed the Xbox One Scorpio just yesterday, the next generation console battleground is certainly taking a discernible shape. The coming months will now be defined by speculation regarding the two forthcoming consoles, with the mid-generation offerings vying for control of the marketplace.

Sony head start

Sony certainly seems to have taken a leaf out of the Microsoft playbook with the release of the PlayStation Neo and PlayStation VR, as its rival benefited previously by releasing the Xbox 360 well ahead of Sony’s PlayStation 3. This enabled Microsoft to build up a massive market lead in the last generation, even if Sony was able to eat away and ultimately eliminate this eventually.

With Samsung having already announced that its PlayStation Neo will be released ahead of the Xbox One Scorpio, and now with this companion PlayStation VR device also available, it seems that the Japanese company is extremely well placed to gain a significant head start in the next gen war. This will place a significant onus on Microsoft to deliver the sort of outstanding Xbox One Scorpio which has been rumored in the media, and it certainly seems that gamers will benefit from this climate.

Nintendo is also planning to release its NX console at around the same time as the Xbox One Scorpio hits the market, suggesting that the coming months will represent an extremely rich seam for gamers to mine.