While 2016 is seen as the year of virtual reality (VR), with headsets launches earlier in the year of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, PlayStation VR today and Google’s Daydream View set to arrive in November, that mean all out success for the fledgling consumer industry. Research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics has forecast that for the British market, only 3 percent of the country will own a head-mounted display (HMD).
The company predicts around two millions Britons will own one of the immersive devices by the end of the year, with mobile HMDs such as Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR dominating the market with approximately 92 percent of units sold.
That’s not a great surprise as the lower end was always going to be most consumers entry point into VR, already having a smartphone with which to use one of the headsets with.
While the higher end was always going to be more niche to begin with, Oculus Rift cost £550 GBP and HTC Vive £770, and that’s excluding the PC’s capable to run them, doubling the price for entry. But with the launch of PlayStation VR today, and the massive install base Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has with the PlayStation 4, it’ll now be easier for consumers to dive into the higher end VR market. Strategy Analytics also forecasts VR headsets will generate £62 million worth of sales in Britain by the end of this year. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive will account for just 1 percent of those sales, while PlayStation VR is estimated to account for 7 percent.
“Despite the rush of companies eager to jump in, the reality is that VR take-up among the British public will be a slow burn and dominated by low-cost headsets,” said David MacQueen from Strategy Analytics’ global wireless practice. “The VR headset market will be much like the car market – most owning the likes of Vauxhalls and Fords, a handful owning Porsches and the odd few splashing out on a Ferrari.
“The experience of a Google Cardboard versus an HTC Vive is as different as listening to a car stereo versus being in the front row of a concert”, MacQueen adds.
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