According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global virtual reality headset revenues will reach $895 million in 2016 with 77% of that value accounted for by the newly launched Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with PlayStation VR set to launch in October 2016. However, the three brands will only account for 13% of volumes in 2016 as lower priced smartphone-based devices will dominate share of the 12.8 million unit virtual reality headset market.
Strategy Analytics predicts that state-of-the-art virtual reality headsets tethered to PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will barely exceed 1.7 million devices shipped globally in 2016 due to prohibitively high pricing. However, awareness of – and actual exposure to – such state-of-the-art systems will build rapidly in 2016 given a spate of highly anticipated commercial product launches from Oculus, Sony, and HTC. At the same time, smartphone-toting consumers are being bombarded by low cost and often bundled-in VR viewers like never before. With proper ecosystem management, Strategy Analytics’ analysts believe that smartphone-based VR can serve as an effective “gateway drug” to upsell users to higher quality VR experiences down the road while locking them into early but potentially sticky ecosystems.
Cliff Raskind, Director of Strategy Analytics’ Wearable Device Ecosystems service:
“Consumers will soon be exposed to an incredible diversity of virtual reality options ranging from ultra-low cost to super premium. While we expect smartphone-based viewers to take the lion’s share of VR headset volumes in 2016 at 87% of shipments, PC and Game Console powered headsets will absolutely dominate value share commanding 77% of revenues. Additionally, we believe VR has the potential to fuel a new tech spec race in hardware areas such as display resolution, GPUs, storage and 360° cameras.”
Game consoles are clearly driving the hardware and software that will be most visible to consumers in 2016, but buyers of new cutting edge VR systems must understand that their appetite for a wide variety of game titles is unlikely to be satisfied anytime soon.