Facebook have a vested interest in VR with their purchase of Oculus, and companies are beginning to heavily invest in the VR platform and ecosystem as players try to predict the next big thing. There is a lot of buzz around VR at the moment with the release of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, but could it all be part of a honeymoon phase? A study by Greenlight VR thinks so, as it found in a new 10-year outlook on the sector that mass adoption is still years away.
The research firm sees the total number of VR headsets on the market, including mobile VR devices (such as the Samsung Gear VR and tethered head-mounted displays (such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive) growing from around 2 million this year to 136 million in 2025. Of the the two categories of mobile and HMD, Greenlight predicts that it is the mobile headsets that are set to dominate the market.
It is predicted that of that 136 million, mobile VR headsets will rise from the 1 million this year to 122 million by 2025, with tethered VR headsets reaching 13.6 million. The report continued to state that while the Oculus Rift may seem the most popular amongst the media coverage, the lower price and large PS4 install base would see the Playstation VR “outstrip the competition”. With that being said, Greenlight VR expects Sony to sell 3.1 million PS VR units by 2018, representing more than half of the market for head-mounted displays.
“We believe the VR hardware market and related ecosystem will take another 6-8 years to reach a tipping point of hyper growth along the adoption cycle,” Greenlight VR noted in the report. “Unlike smartphones, where there was a stronger need for consumers to have these devices, the use cases that will drive broad consumer adoption are still early in development.”
Greenlight VR explicitly highlights that new markets are being created but aren’t in the timing, structure, or size that may be expected with the attention and traction that VR has gained over the past year. There is a lot of progress being made both with large and small companies, hardware and software, but growth and adoption will be hampered by the consumers idea that VR isn’t a must-have technology at the moment.
“We are optimistic that the industry will overcome its challenges, which currently exist all along the value-chain and are structural, technical, and human in nature.”
The report, however, does highlight that these challenges will eventually be overcome, which will lead to the eventual boom of the VR sector.