November 28, 2017 // 11:47 a.m.
Market watcher Canalys has pointed to a burgeoning, though still relatively small, virtual reality market with quarterly shipments of VR hardware topping a million units for the first time - and with Sony taking the lion's share.
In a market report published to its website Canalys has claimed that the third quarter of 2017 has been a boom period for the virtual reality market, with shipments topping a million units for the first time thanks in part to aggressive price cuts from HTC and Oculus VR. It's Sony, though, that sits at the top of the tree with a claimed 490,000 PlayStation VR shipments for the quarter to Oculus' 210,000 Rift headsets and HTC's relatively lacklustre 160,000 - and between them the trio are claimed to have 86 percent of the VR market sewn up.
The company's figures, which are estimates based on available sales data, include only 'true' VR headsets; devices which use a smartphone as both the driving device and display, which the company calls 'simple viewers' and which includes the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View, are not counted towards the figures.
'VR adoption in the consumer segment is highly dependent on price, and Oculus' strategy of lowering prices has definitely helped drive adoption,' claims Canalys research analyst Vincent Thielke. '[Facebook's head of VR] Hugo Barra is betting on his next product, the $199 Oculus Go standalone headset, to reach more users next year. The Go will excite first-time users, but driving adoption beyond social media will be a challenge.'
The market's getting a shake-up, though, with Thielke claiming that Microsoft's heavy push for its Windows Mixed Reality platform, including the launch of third-party headsets which are priced lower than the competition, will drive adoption still further - likely cutting down on the triopoly's share of the market.