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Virtual Reality Headsets on Target for Biggest Sales Year Ever

To paraphrase an old Megadeth song, virtual reality ships, however who’s shopping for?

With 2.three mixed virtual and augmented reality headsets shipped worldwide within the first quarter of 2017, the business is on tempo for its largest yr ever, in response to a new report from analysis agency International Data Corporation.

But if shipments are monitoring at a document tempo, it prompts the query — why are headset gross sales so exhausting to return by?

One supply with information of business figures informed TheWrap corporations are hesitant to disclose actual figures as a result of buyers need to see a gentle progress in gross sales.

The report confirmed the overwhelming majority of the Q1 shipments have been VR headsets, with greater than 2.2 million headsets delivered within the first quarter. And coupled with new merchandise getting into the market, because of companies like Microsoft doubling down on their funding in VR and AR, IDC forecasts triple-digit progress for 2017.

If the development holds, VR headsets will almost double their 2016 shipments, with analysis agency Super Data accounting for 6.3 million units despatched final yr.

Still, there could possibly be a much bigger than anticipated hole between shipments and gross sales. The solely business staple dashing to share its gross sales figures this yr is Sony, which moved almost one million Playstation VR headsets within the three months following its October launch.

Samsung paced the worldwide shipments of mixed VR and AR headsets, with its Gear know-how taking about 22 % of market share. Sony wasn’t far behind at 19 %, despite the fact that its Playstation VR headset has solely been obtainable since final fall.

A Samsung consultant shared with TheWrap “more than 5 million” Gear headsets are in use worldwide, however declined to say what number of have bought in 2017. Samsung’s Gear VR has been probably the most profitable system because it debuted in 2015.

Facebook Oculus didn’t reply instantly to TheWrap for remark.

One roadblock in the best way of VR’s continued progress is the restricted quantity of unique content material obtainable. Producing VR content is expensive; the worth of doing enterprise might discourage studios from investing in VR till the know-how is extra widespread.

“With plenty of headset options already in the market and even more coming soon, hardware isn’t the issue,” stated Jitesh Ubrani, a senior analyst with IDC. “The bigger challenge is the slow growth in content that appeals to a mass audience, combined with the confusion associated with a lack of cross-platform support.”

Companies like NextVR have partnered with the NBA and Live Nation to deliver reside occasions to its customers, however there’s nonetheless a void for unique programming. Until this problem is addressed, VR could possibly be held again from making its subsequent leap ahead.

For now, demand is probably not assembly provide. Retailers look to be betting on shoppers shopping for headsets at a price quicker than the business can churn out high quality content material.

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