For all the hullabaloo and sometimes lofty predictions surrounding virtual reality’s far-reaching consumer launch last year, the evident sales total and impact of the record have been decidedly muted. As hardware prices come down and program offerings start to locate up, though, the marketplace for high-end VR headsets is solemnly creeping out of the doldrums.
Worldwide shipments for high-end, tethered VR headsets (excluding cheaper “phone holsters” like Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream) exceeded 1 million shipments for the first time in the third entertain of 2017, according to marketplace research organisation Canalys. Sony’s PlayStation VR took a near-majority of the marketplace with an estimated 490,000 shipments, followed by 210,000 for the Oculus Rift and 160,000 for the HTC Vive (140,000 some-more units went to several other headsets, such as China’s DPVR).
The comprehensive numbers for VR headset sales still aren’t all that sparkling compared to other successful consumer electronics—both the PS4 and the Xbox One sole a million units in their first day of availability, for instance, and Apple shipped 3.3 million iPhones in its first 6 months back in 2007.
What’s heartening for the VR carefree is a trendline that looks decidedly positive. Previous Canalys reports for 2017 have estimated 800,000 VR units shipped in the second entertain and about 578,000 in the first quarter. While unchanging anniversary movement could have something to do with that solid increase, this year’s poignant cost drops for all 3 major VR headsets likely played a incomparable role.
A full year-on-year trend for the tethered VR marketplace is tough to suss out before the 2017 holiday deteriorate is finish (and since all 3 heading headsets weren’t accessible for at slightest partial of last year). That said, this year’s sales seem to be outpacing 2016. Last year, the 3 major headsets total to sell just 1.7 million units, according to Canalys. This year, those headsets demeanour like they’ve already total to sell some-more than two million units in just the first 9 months formed on Canalys reports.
This is frequency bomb expansion for a still-young VR market, and the medium sales boost could be seen as unsatisfactory given the cost drops. Still, it’s better than seeing the nascent VR marketplace faddishly timorous towards 0 sales shortly after the early adopters get their units (see, for example, the Wii U and Ouya).
With an array of Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets joining the ravel this holiday season, it will be engaging to see how many people make the burst to virtual reality in the coming year. Canalys, for one, is optimistic, awaiting a “sizable boost” to the marketplace from these new offerings. “VR in business can be practical to many industries, such as manufacturing, medical and education,” Canalys Analyst Jason Low pronounced in a statement. “As top-tier PC vendors, including HP, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and Dell launch their own VR headsets, using their placement channel efficiencies, one can design a clever VR uptake in business.”