Sony Gets Real About Virtual-Reality Launch



LOS ANGELES—Sony Corp. said Monday its virtual-reality headset will be rolled out on Oct. 13, paving the way for its much anticipated release along with the introduction of blockbuster game titles for the new device.

“Final Fantasy,” “Star Wars,” “Batman Arkham” and “Resident Evil” will be playable on the $399 VR device, Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, the Japanese entertainment and electronics group’s videogame unit, announced ahead of the world’s largest videogame trade show in Los Angeles, E3.

Rivals of PlayStation VR, including Facebook Inc.’s Oculus Rift and HTC Corp.’s Vive, are already on the market as Sony plays catch-up. But analysts say the Japanese company would be a front-runner when its device is launched as it has a significantly lower price tag. The announcement Monday strengthened the view, analysts say, as Rift and Vive haven’t produced any blockbuster hits among hard-core videogame fans.

“Sony’s lineup for its PS VR is looking as solid as we have hoped with big titles,” said Amir Anvarzadeh, BGC Partners’ head of Japan equities.

The challenge facing Sony is whether the company will have enough units ready for the launch. Its PlayStation 4 console has sold more than 40 million units since its release in November 2013.

The Japanese conglomerate confirmed Friday it plans to upgrade the PlayStation 4, a move matched by rival Microsoft Corp.’s new hardware, dubbed “Project Scorpio,” unveiled Monday, though sales of PlayStation 4 far exceed Xbox One’s. The Seattle-based company also introduced a slimmer version of the Xbox One at its press conference.

Sony’s new console will feature enhanced videogame graphics, including 4K ultra high-definition resolution and a more powerful processing engine. It wasn’t featured at Sony’s pre-E3 event, which focused on software. Executives, including group Chief Executive Andrew House made no mention of the console, code-named “Neo,” at the press conference.

Instead, Mr. House introduced “Death Stranding” from Hideo Kojima, the popular creator behind the “Metal Gear” franchise. He and his former employer, Konami Holdings Corp., last year grappled with a messy parting of ways. Mr. House said in December that Sony was helping Mr. Kojima set up his own production company and reserved the first title from the production for PlayStation 4. (Source: WSJ)