VR Forecast Lowered By 22% Due To Low Market Awareness

Despite the media going on and on about virtual reality, head mounted displays and the advent of immersive virtual worlds, the reality is that a large majority of Americans are completely unaware about the presence of VR on the market. Due to this and a string of other issues plaguing the VR market, research firm Superdata have lowered their revenue projections for the VR market by 22% for 2016, down to $2.9 billion from the projected $3.6 billion they had forecast just a month ago.

According to GameIndustry.biz the drop from the early forecast of $5.1 billion to $3.6 billion and then from $3.6 billion to $2.9 billion came as part of a wave of realizations of Oculus and HTC encountering limited production of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, resulting in delayed deliveries and limited quantities of product being moved out onto the market. The next shipment for both units is expected to begin this summer.

The coupling of production woes with another major problem has Superdata refining their forecasts on the potential revenue the VR market could generate in 2016.

What’s this other major problem that Superdata has encountered? Market awareness.

According to Superdata’s director of research and head of virtual and augmented reality, Stephanie Llamas…

“The general public are mostly unaware of Virtual Reality with 50 percent of Americans showing no interest in or knowledge of VR,”[…] “Broad consumer adoption relies on building awareness, but today nearly 80 percent of consumers only occasionally or never hear about VR.”

In Superdata’s report, titled “Virtual Reality and the Next Killer App”, they note that only 13 million Americans plan on purchasing a VR headset this year but the research firm is estimating only 7.2 million to actually ship throughout the year, this includes 3.5 million Gear VR units, 2.6 million PlayStation VR HMDs, and a shared 1.1 million between the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

I think those numbers are mostly right… save I would suspect that the PlayStation VR may have 2 million in pre-orders alone if it’s marketed properly leading up to its release.

The $399.99 price point is the sweet spot for VR, and so long as Sony doesn’t royally screw up with the PlayStation Neo 4.5K by fragmenting their install base, the company could easily shift a few million more units if the PS VR’s release is coupled with a drop in price on the base PS4 between $199.99 and $249.99 and the release of the PS4 Slim in the fall. This would easily see people grabbing up both the PS4 and the PS VR in droves.

Of course a lot of the PS VR’s sales momentum will be dependent on the PS4’s price drop, Sony’s commitment to the PS4, the price of the PlayStation Neo, and how many of the 50 of the PS VR games actually make their release window.

Interestingly enough, the biggest hurdle for many Americans adopting VR is price. According to the report, 26% of survey participants said that the HMDs are still too expensive. While market awareness may be low right now, with a decent marketing campaign from Sony for the PS VR, I don’t think awareness will be much a problem, it will all boil down to whether or not Americans can be convinced to invest $399 for something like the PS VR, and if there will be enough decent games to convince people spend that kind of money on the hardware. At the end of the day software sells hardware (unless you’re the PS4, where Microsoft’s DRM blunders sells the hardware for you).


OAG staff consists of writers creating content about video game and digital culture.

16 thoughts on “VR Forecast Lowered By 22% Due To Low Market Awareness

  1. If VR wants to increase its awareness it needs a more mainstream public presentation ASAP. Something along the lines of Apple’s press conferences. I fucking hate their presentation and the people who eat that crap but truth be told, that crap truly works for mass marketing…

    1. God. I hate tech/game presentations so much. The ones I’ve seen tend to sound insanely pompous and condescending.

      1. Same. Fucking same. Every time I see apple’s presentation, I keep seeing the narrator slowly stroking his dick as he talks, the smugness in his words are just so fucking obscene, just look at that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWs6T18XQYI

        But I guess people like that slow masturbation thing, it didn’t work for iWatch but that’s because iWatch its truly stupid idea. It worked on iPad, iPhone and some other iShit. If they had a good presentation of VR apps, like VR shopping, exercising, you know, this “lifestyle” crap, I think people would love to eat that.

      2. lol, i had not watch that, if i had to describe that video the term “gadget porn” would come to mind

        I think the watch failed because they did not have Jobs to sell it to be honest, that man could sell rain and dirt to rainforest natives and tanning parlors to ppl in the Caribbean

      3. From all the VR designs, I think Sony has the most “apple-like”: white, minimalist and pompous.

        Counting on all the obssession american mainstream culture got recently on superheroes movies I wouldn’t say the masses would be too adverse to the idea. Probably we could even get some X-men’s Cyclops endorsed ads!

  2. Both the vive and the oculus include their respective motion sensor
    and controller solutions, the playstation vr basic bundle does not

    The price of the Playstation VR stops being so tasty when you consider that you need the controlers and the camera (that bundle is $499 not $399, the not included $60 camera is REQUIRED btw, controller requirement depends on the software) and the newps4 will most likely be a requirement raising it to a not so tasty 900+usd

    1. The bundles for the PSVR definitely get more expensive as you add in more to the equation, but as a base unit you can get it for far cheaper than the Vive or Rift. I think it depends on how much people are willing to spend even to enter the VR race. Paying $399 for the HMD and then later adding on to that doesn’t look quite as bad. Paying $800 up front, though, is just a hard pill to swallow for some people.

      1. I’m not even going to bother, and I’ve been closely watching the HMD/VR scene for the longest time.

      2. You are right of course, but i somehow feel that being dishonest with what VR will *really* cost the user is not going to earn them any allies

        The Vive and the Oculus are being somewhat dishonest as well about the PC hardware required in the near future as well, they only consider the bundled software for the specs, its just not going to cut it for AAA games

      3. Those are all really good points. In fact, with the hidden costs, you’re looking at paying around $2,000 in total for a decent setup, and that’s not including the games. I’ll consider doing an article about that because it’s an interesting perspective on how much it would really cost to adequately use a VR headset on AAA games.

      4. AAA games have been increasingly sucking, too. If I did get VR, I’d probably end up using it far more often on older games, assuming people will still be able to add VR support to them. In before companies start re-releasing old games with “official VR support” for a quick buck.

      5. Well Oculus will start banning hacked apps or unofficially added apps to the Rift, so they will most likely re-release popular games with official VR support and charge an arm and a leg for them.

  3. VR isn’t the only thing most Americans are ignorant about~

    The thing is that VR is difficult to show people. They won’t really understand it until they try it themselves. You can’t just show it on a screen. Although, I haven’t tried it myself but I can imagine what it’s like.

    It also doesn’t help that they haven’t really made anything worth showing.

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