Today Strategy Analytics released its report “VR Headset Platform Market Share Year End 2016” which showcased Google’s cheap and cheerful Cardboard headset at number one, but also showed that Samsung Gear VR took first place in terms of revenue.
Split between six major competing virtual reality (VR) platforms, Strategy Analytics estimates that over 30 million VR headsets shipped over the course of last year with the vast majority being Google Cardboard with a 69 percent share. While this in itself isn’t greatly surprising – the headset is not only sold but given away in promotions for brands – Samsung’s Gear VR has been shown to bring in the most money with the second largest share of the market at 17 percent.
David MacQueen, Executive Director of Strategy Analytics’ Virtual Reality Ecosystem research program, said in a statement: “2016 certainly was a busy year in VR. Appearing alongside Google Cardboard were new platforms Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and SteamVR, currently served by the HTC Vive device, although more vendors will join this platform in 2017.
“Our data shows that Google has a commanding lead in terms of shipments and installed base for its ultra-low cost Cardboard VR platform, and the size of the audience is already attracting marketers and brands looking to use VR as a promotional tool. However, it accounted for merely 12% revenue share. The higher-spec smartphone VR platform, Samsung Gear VR, took top spot by revenues with a 35% revenue share. Sony’s successful PS VR launch sees that platform take second place by revenues, and between them Sony and Samsung captured more than half of VR hardware revenues in 2016”.
While Cliff Raskind, Senior Director at Strategy Analytics, added: “The successful push of VR hardware to consumers through direct sales, bundling and even giving devices away, is seeding the market and creating the audience required for successful ecosystems to grow. However, 6 competing ecosystems makes for a market which is crowded and fragmented. 2017 is sure to be an interesting year and we expect some shakedown as the competing ecosystems either cement their position or fall by the wayside. Hardware revenues or audience alone will not be enough to win, and we will continue to track the ecosystem evolution as new use cases, apps, and industries beyond gaming and media grow the market for VR and AR.”
These stats could be very different by the end of 2017, with Google Daydream’s smartphone support base growing and PlayStation VR starting to become more readily available now that pre-order’s have been fulfilled. The mobile market will likely always dominate due to its affordability which is why HTC recently revealed plans for a mobile device of its own, surfacing at some point in the next 12 months.
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