Facebook and Sony increase output of gaming devices

Facebook and Sony are preparing to ramp up the output of upcoming gaming devices by as much as 50 percent, showing how the two big tech companies are profiting from users’ thirst for home entertainment during the global Covid-19 pandemic, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned.

According to sources, the global leading provider of virtual reality headsets by market share Facebook’s Oculus is eyeing growth of at least 50 percent from last year for its latest version of head-mounted VR devices, pushing production to two million units.

Meanwhile, sources familiar with the matter said that Sony, the world’s No. 2 video game console maker only after Nintendo by shipments, has also raised production orders for its upcoming PlayStation 5 to about 9 million units, from the around 6 million units it had planned in spring. After the Japanese company launched the PlayStation 4 in 2013 and an upgrade in 2016, the PlayStation 5 is the first new generation of the console in seven years.

The big tech companies’ optimism is a robust sign for a wide variety of suppliers in the entertainment segment for the last half of 2020, while many tech industry players are still finding ways to offset the declining smartphone market.

Facebook’s move further underlines its ambition to further expand its footprint in the emerging VR market, where it is the leader with a 35% market share.

In comparison to the cyclical and relatively mature games console market, dominated by Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, market watchers said VR was still a nascent market with a lot of players trying new applications. However, gaming is still the most important segment.

Facebook is going to further expand standalone VR, giving users a more immersive experience than PC and smartphone-based VR headsets. Other companies are also jostling for a market share. For example, HTC, formerly a leading smartphone maker, changed its focus from handsets to VR. Sony launched its first PlayStation VR in 2015. Google, Huawei Technologies, and Samsung Electronics all introduced phone-based VR headsets, which use smartphones as the VR headset’s screens.