For the first time over 1 million virtual reality headsets have been sold in a financial quarter. Oculus slashed the price of its Rift headset during the summer which spurred on sales, although the PlaystationVR is still by some way the bestselling VR headset. These figures count only standalone headsets and do not include mobile devices such as the Gear VR, Daydream, or Cardboard. Although any growth is encouraging, it shows that VR still has a long way to go before it goes mainstream. Each year 1.5 billion smartphones are now sold globally, whereas it seems VR headsets are stuck under the 5 million mark. It’s difficult to see how such a small market, with such slow growth despite reduced prices, can maintain the current VR porn ecosystem, with a plethora of studios and paysites serving a global market the size of Norway. Admittedly, a high percentage of VR headset buyers will have VR porn in their minds when making the decision to buy, but this is counterbalanced by the liklihood that those curious about adult VR will already likely have bought a headset, and that new headset sales are more likely to be motivated by other more general desires.
Sony took the lead, shipping more than 490,000 PlayStation VR (PS VR) sets in Q3, followed by Oculus, which shipped 210,000 of its Rift headsets and HTC taking the third place, shipping 160,000 Vive VR units. Collectively, Sony, Oculus and HTC made up 86% of the total market in third quarter of 2017, the report said.
A smart VR headset is a standalone, multi-purpose device that is designed to be worn on the face and not carried, runs an operating system, and can run third-party computing applications. A basic VR headset is a device serving a specific set of purposes that is designed to be worn on the face and not carried, cannot run third-party computing applications independently and is generally tethered by cable to a desktop PC.
Oculus increased shipments of its Rift headsets by cutting the price to US$399 for a limited time, matching that of the PS VR. “VR adoption in the consumer segment is highly dependent on price, and Oculus’ strategy of lowering prices has definitely helped drive adoption,” said Canalys Research Analyst Vincent Thielke.