Virtual Reality Headset
Now that more and more consumers are seeking increased access to products that are related to virtual reality, companies are lining up to tap into this newfound share of the marketplace. Its emergence as a legitimate computing company has led a number of tech giants to roll out their own version of the virtual reality headset and shipments are currently booming.
Virtual reality headset shipments have totaled roughly 2 million units within the last calendar year and this is unprecedented growth, considering that this area of the marketplace sprung up essentially overnight, growing in leaps and bounds from last year’s infancy.
While the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift were expected to best the Sony PlayStation in head to head battle, early estimates show that Sony’s entry in the virtual headset canon has outpaced each of the more expensive models.
Canalys, the research firm responsible for these findings, has only included head mounted virtual reality headsets with screens. Their numbers exclude certain headsets that do not come with a display attached, including the Samsung Gear VR or the Google Daydream View.
These are considered to be shells and those who purchase these headsets will also need to attach a mobile device for best results. Lenovo’s the Phab 2 Pro, which provides the user with the ability to blend virtual reality with the screen of their mobile device, is also not included in the aforementioned shipping estimates.
Next year’s VR headset shipment totals are expected to rise even higher, as Canalys expected the numbers to surge well over 5 million. By 2018, analysts predict that the number of VR headset units sold will break the 10 million plateau and reach the 15 million mark by the end of 2019.
The world’s top PC makers are busy planning their response to this sudden surge of growth, as Asus, Lenovo, Dell, HP and Acer are all crafted VR headsets of their own, based on the blueprint provided by Windows and their Holographic platform.
Once these devices have been completed, they are expected to function in the same manner as the Microsoft HoloLens, which currently retails at a cool $3,000. Conversely, other companies are planning on selling their take on the Microsoft technology for a far lower price.
Chinese companies, such as 3Glasses, will begin to ship headsets that are based on the Microsoft template during the first half of 2017. The 3Glasses virtual reality headset is expected to be sold at a much lower cost of $500, allowing a far greater range of customers to experience all of the benefits that they have to offer.
Sony has been able to emerge as the early leader in this marketplace and even though the PlayStation VR headset has experienced numerous shipping delays, this has not stopped audiences from purchasing them in mass quantities. According to Canalys, a whopping 800,000 headset units (which are to be used in conjunction with the PlayStation gaming console) will be sold by year’s end.
The device was recently launched in October and there was also an accompanying marketing blitz to raise awareness. Its immediate success may also be attributable to the fact that the device was sold for much less than its two closest competitors in the current marketplace.
While the Oculus Rift retails for $599 and the HTC Vive is sold at a price of $799, the PlayStation VR headset offers a much less expensive alternative for those who are interested in this form of technology. At a price of $399.99, it is a virtual no brainer for all those involved (pun certainly intended).
According to Canalys estimates, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are still selling at a very brisk pace. HTC Vive shipments are expected to break the half million mark this year, while Oculus Rift shipments are expected to total 400,000.
United States companies will not have an exclusive stranglehold on the marketplace for very long, as a number of Chinese companies are preparing to release their own fully integrated headsets. China is already one of the largest markets when it comes to VR headset sales and while they already have a number of key players in their local market, including ANTVR, Idealens and Deepoon, their low cost headsets are poised to seize a major share of the overseas market as well.
As gaming aficionados readily continue to adopt the usage of VR headsets at increasingly large rates, the VR market has yet to reach full maturity. This is due to the fact that a number of products experienced untimely delays. Billions of dollars were also spent on perfecting each new headset design, which also served to contribute to the delays.
The long term future for VR headsets remains very bright, as there is a veritable plethora of potential uses outside of the world of traditional gaming that have been envisioned by forward thinking tech giants. The makers of VR headsets envision a world where they can be utilized commercially, as there are a number of engineering and medical applications where this form of technology could potentially make a major difference.
VR headsets can also be used in a wide range of informal settings, allowing users to watch sporting events, movies and television shows in a more immersive manner than ever before. While the exact future of VR headsets is still somewhat difficult to project, even for the experts, there is no denying the current industry projections or the fact that these headsets are most certainly here to stay over the long haul.