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A while ago in Amsterdam during UNITE Europe 2016 we had a little talk with Oleg Pridiuk (Game Insight) about games industry. Obviously VR-topic came up. Oleg told that it’s incredibly interesting that the market for VR has not really started bringing any money yet (there no commercially available products even) and yet it’s already extremely segmented.
If you have a look at this Virtual Reality Ecosystem Map (compiled by Greenlight VR) or another version of this market overview by Chris McCann, you’ll be amazed how many companies are trying to get into the game. We’ve got Samsung, Zeiss, HTC, Oculus, Sony and lots of other companies competing with various products. The biggest thing is that it’s not entirely clear how are these VR-headsets different, what are the biggest features and what hardware works best. No one knows about it and that’s why it’s so fun to make some wild predictions.
IHS Tells The Future
Most recently global market research firm IHS tried to look a bit into the crystal ball and figure out the future of VR. The analysts believe that Sony will become at least a temporary winner in the VR chase. IHS believes, that PlayStation VR headset will outsell Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive in 2016.
The company believes that PlayStation VR is going to grab the first spot, because of the success of PlayStation 4, which is currently considered to be the most successful console of the current generation. According to the most recent financial report, there were 4 million PS4 units shipped over the past three months.
IHS believes that by the middle 2016 Sony will sell more than 37 million PlayStation 4 consoles. It will be quite enough to sell a couple million of VR sets for PlayStation fans.
Oculus Rift and HTC Vive aim at the owners of medium- to high-spec PCs. IHS believes that the install base for these devices will be less than half of the intel base Sony will possess next year.
Frankly, it all comes down to the price, and the analysts believe that PlayStation VR will be cheaper to own than Oculus or HTC Vive. This is an educated guess, since we still don’t know the price of these systems. PlayStation 4 is obviously cheaper than a high-spec PC (especially with the recent price drop) and IHS predicts that PlayStation VR will ship 1.5 million units by the end of 2016.
Here are some other interesting highlights from the IHS report:
- Investment in virtual reality companies is centred on consumer usage and entertainment: IHS data shows that 77% of VR funding and acquisition deals in the last two years were related to VR entertainment content or its provision.
- Virtual reality headset installed base: The World installed base forecast for virtual reality headsets is 38m by end of 2020.
- Virtual reality headset market opportunity: Sales value of virtual reality headsets will reach $1.1bn in 2016. This is expected to grow to $2.7bn by 2020.
- Smartphone-based headsets will have the biggest share of installed base in 2016 at 64%: But most spending on hardware and content will take place at the high-end part of the market, for Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and HTC Vive.
- VR games market: The paid VR games market will be worth $496m in 2016.
- USA will be the biggest market for virtual reality headsets and content during the forecast period: In 2016, IHS expects the USA to represent 44% share of World spend on VR games