Virtual Reality Sales Crash
VR HAS BEEN the next big thing for so many years that it is has almost become comical. Recent advances in hardware, and backing by some big names, have pushed it back into the spotlight; however, sales figures for the last quarter have emerged, and it’s not good news. Sales are down 33.7 percent on the same time last year. The high-end tethered headsets contracted by 37.3 percent. Standalone headsets bucked the trend, but overall numbers are still very low; just 0.3 percent of Steam users can enjoy virtual worlds.
These are stark figures, but there are consolations. Previous sales figures were inflated by Samsung, Google, and Alcatel bundling cheap screenless VR viewers; this has declined from over a million to around 400,000. And potential growth is seen in the business and commercial sectors, but this is all theory so far.
The reasons behind VR’s sluggish growth are manifold: People find it hard to try VR; there’s a lack of content; and a bewildering variety of formats, from the cheap world of, essentially, strapping a phone to your head, all the way up to expensive custom systems.
Some pundits have labeled high-end PC-based gaming VR as dead. Harsh stuff. It’s clearly not healthy, though. We’ve still to see proper VR games being developed, written ground-up to deliver a VR-focused experience. So far we have one: ResidentEvil7. Hardware 3D cards were equally pricey at launch, but quickly gained a plethora of titles.
There is something vital missing for VR, and that’s enough vocal, and financially enthusiastic, people clamoring for it. Microsoft’s move to drop the Xbox One VR headset looks like a reasonable business decision. VR is still not the next big thing.
Oculus, Sony, and HTC only made about 100,000 sales each last quarter.