It’s no secret that the virtual reality (VR) industry can be tough to make money in, after all, it is still a fledgeling market finding its place in both the overall tech industry and the videogame industry. While recent quarters saw a decline in headset sales, a new report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) has shown a resurgence, with the market returning to growth in Q3 2018.
According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker the combined VR and augmented reality (AR) market grew 9.4 percent year over year in Q3, with global shipments of VR headset hitting 1.9 million units in that quarter.
Months after predicting that the VR market would soon experience a rebound after a sharp drop in shipments, IDC today issued a positive report on the combined virtual and augmented reality market: Led by two headsets, the VR market saw 8.2 percent year-over-year growth in the third quarter of 2018, with AR headsets achieving a smaller 1.1 percent gain.
Thanks to the release of Oculus Go and Xiaomi’s Mi VR, standalone headset sales grew 428.6 percent and accounted for 20.6 percent of the VR headset market, shipping nearly 250,000 devices worldwide. On the flipside, Samsung’s Gear VR declined by 58.6 percent attributed to fewer offers being available.
As for the tethered VR market sales surpassed 1 million units, with Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) shipping 463,000 PlayStation VR headsets during the quarter followed by Oculus Rift with 300,000 and HTC Vive with 230,000. Oculus is the top manufacturer for Q3 thanks to combined Oculus Rift and Oculus Go units capturing 25.9 percent of the entire VR market.
The VFX-1. We can’t do a list about the history of Virtual Reality and not include the VFX-1. Released in the middle of the 1990s, the VFX-1 system was one of the most capable virtual reality headsets released on the market at the time. With stereoscopic 3D, multi-axis head movement detection and rotation, and the ability to play games that were not truly supported by the system, the VFX-1 was the true Virtual Reality deal at the time. Furthermore, their price tag was relatively cheap compared to other products on the market, coming at a mere $600. However, the VFX-1 was too advanced of a technology and it didn’t really take off. Later on, the company Vuzix that made the glasses was bought by Forte Technologies, which released a more expensive VFX 3D version, but it also didn’t manage to achieve huge success.
“The VR market is finally starting to come into its own,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers in a statement. “On the consumer front, the combination of lower prices and increased content is beginning to resonate with users. Meanwhile, commercial adoption is also on the rise for a range of use cases, including training, design, and showcasing.”
On the AR headset side Lenovo is doing the best with 23,000 headsets shipped, mostly comprised of the Star Wars Jedi Challenges headset. When it comes to the rest of the AR market this grew 1.1 percent over the previous year thanks to companies like Vuzix and Epson.
“The VR market is entering a new stage of maturity, where companies are setting aside the unrealistic expectations around explosive market growth and are focused instead on building more sustainable businesses,” said Tom Mainelli, program vice president, Devices and Augmented and Virtual Reality at IDC. “With regards to AR, hardware growth remains modest, but we see strong interest in the technology from many companies. We expect new hardware shipping in 2019, from both established players and new ones, to help move the industry beyond proof of concepts and pilots into larger deployments.”
Virtual reality devices, including headsets and peripherals, offer consumers and businesses new ways to experience and share immersive content for entertainment, educational, social and other purposes. Compared with other consumer technology products, VR headset adoption, purchase, and purchase intention rates remain extremely low.
With mostly positive figures all round it’ll be interesting to see how Q4 fairs thanks to aggressive pricing around events like Black Friday. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus .