‘Premium’ VR devices expected to prevail in 2016 value, with low-cost solutions dominating volume

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Much like the other fledgling industry segment bidding for the title of “next big thing” in tech, the virtual reality market seems to be split in two very distinct categories. But the price gap between smartphone-enabled VR headsets and their PC and console-based counterparts is way larger than the main differentiator of activity trackers and smartwatches.

As such, devices like the Samsung Gear VR will easily get the volume advantage over the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Sony PlayStation VR this year. What kind of an edge we’re talking about here? A massive one, Strategy Analytics forecasts, with the high-end trinity barely capable of seizing a combined 13 percent share of global 2016 sales.

That leaves a colossal 87 percent of the shipment pie to primitive viewers setting you back $100 a pop or less, though analysts believe their success might ultimately work in the favor of more ambitious manufacturers.

These entry-level products, often offered for free with compatible phones, should lock early adopters of the immersive technology into “sticky ecosystems”, serving as effective “gateway drugs” to “higher quality VR experiences down the road.”

VR device sales and revenue 2016

So yeah, while HTC, Oculus and Sony could be looking at a modest 1.7 million unit box-office total between them by the end of 2016, eating into the volume achievements of their lesser cousins will become entirely feasible later on. By the way, the Gear VR, Google Cardboard viewer, LG 360 VR and gang should account for an impressive 12.8 million combined tally this year alone.

Meanwhile, although it’s a little late to the party compared to the Rift and Vive, the PlayStation VR is surprisingly tipped to outsell them. Both. Even combined. And take the lion’s share of revenues, at 46 percent. How is that even possible?

Source: Strategy Analytics

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).