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PlayStation VR gets a price cut -- and then there were three

Starting Sept. 1, you'll pay $50-$60 less than you would before.

Sony's PlayStation VR, with optional stand.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Last October, Sony's $500 PlayStation VR seemed like the affordable choice in VR headgear -- at least compared to the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, which ran $600 and $800 at that time, respectively . 

Now, Sony's issuing a price cut, presumably so the PSVR can stay alive. Facebook (which owns Oculus Rift) and HTC have both drastically cut the prices of their high-end headsets over the past two months -- and rumor has it that Sony's sales may have also slowed. 

The upshot: On Sept. 1, a $400, £340 or AU$550 PlayStation VR will now come with the required PlayStation Camera in the box, meaning you'll have to pay $60 less than before.

Want a pair of PlayStation Move motion controllers as well, so you can reach out and grab in VR? That'll be $450 for a complete bundle -- a $50 discount compared to the limited-edition $500 bundle Sony offered when the PSVR first launched. (We haven't yet confirmed availability for the UK or Australia; you can currently get a bundle with the headset, camera and a game for about £50 or AU$80 more than the headset alone.)

While the Oculus Rift and Touch controller bundle can still technically be had for $400 today, Facebook has said the price of that bundle will go up to $500 after the summer ends.

Here's the likely new pricing landscape for high-end VR headsets after the dust settles:

The price of VR

PlayStation VR $450 £350 expected $600 expected
Oculus Rift $500 £500 $690 expected
HTC Vive $600 £600 $1,000

Our "expected" prices above are based on these companies' past behavior, such as Facebook pricing the Rift a full $50 higher for Australian customers.

As you can see, the PlayStation VR probably won't be much cheaper than its counterparts, particularly in the US, and you could argue that a discount on its peripherals (which can sometimes be found separately for cheap) won't necessarily help it compete. 

But keep in mind these prices don't factor in the cost of the $500-plus gaming PC you'll need to use an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. The PlayStation VR requires only a PlayStation 4, which can be found on sale for as little as $270, £230 or AU$440 right now.

According to rough estimates from market research firms IDC and Superdata, Sony's sales may outstrip those of HTC and Oculus Rift. But that doesn't necessarily mean Sony's VR push is doing well. While Sony claimed it had shipped 915,000 units of its PlayStation VR as of February, the company didn't announce 1 million in sales until June. And in April, a report suggested Sony was attempting to find new markets for PSVR due to a sales slowdown.

Sony didn't respond to a request for comment.