Industry analyst firm Superdata isn’t too worried about how virtual reality is going to perform over the next couple years. Its data suggests that about 70 million headsets will be delivering VR content to consumers by the end of 2017 – just a hair over 2 years from now.
The Samsung Gear VR launched last week at $99, alongside which Superdata released its study. It expects this and other mobile-dependent devices to pave the way:
“Initially, affordable smartphone devices will drive the bulk of sales as consumers first explore virtual reality before committing to the more expensive platforms,” said Stephanie Llamas, Superdata’s Director of Research. After that, the second push will come from console gamers as high end headsets start to become more popular.
Superdata believes that about a third of US console gamers will end up picking up PlayStation VR and about 18 percent of PC gamers will end up grabbing an Oculus Rift headset during this time frame.
The result of this will be an $8.8 billion VR hardware business accompanied by $6.1 billion in VR software sales, the firm says, and they expect it to nearly double from there by the end of 2019.
My general impression of VR makes me think it’s not going to take off quite like that, but firms like Superdata only make money if they’re reliable. The idea that mobile-powered VR will sneak the concept in on the cheap before expanding into high-end gear isn’t one I’d considered, and sounds very realistic. The Gear VR is supported by the most popular line of newer phones on the market, Samsung’s Galaxy and Note lines, and is cheap enough to be a throwaway buy for tech enthusiasts and a reasonable gift for anyone who already owns the phone. If there’s good software support, VR could be on the edge of exploding.