A new report published by SuperData revealed that the virtual reality industry made $1.8bn (£1.44bn) in revenue in 2016, with 6.3m devices shipped throughout the course of the year. Of these units, 4.51m were Samsung Gear VR headsets, making it the most-shipped headset of 2016.
Sony's PlayStation VR came in second place, with 750k units shipped. Meanwhile, HTC Vive shipped 420k units shipped, and Oculus Rift shipped just 250k units.
“The low barrier to entry for mobile gave Samsung an edge over its other high-end competitors before the Google Daydream View came out,” SuperData’s report reads.
“After giving away hundreds of thousands of headsets with S7 pre-orders, they were able to get devices into the hands of consumers at a critical time. Google’s new headset has been slow out the gate, coming out late last year and compatible with only the Google Pixel. However, as more phones become compatible this year it will be stiff competition for Samsung, especially since the Daydream View is $20 cheaper than the Gear VR."
As for non-mobile headsets, the report goes on to say: “Sony’s headset flew off shelves, selling out virtually everywhere within a few days. The company’s lack of fulfillment is an indication of a cautious start, while HTC and Oculus are going full force with their PC devices. Oculus has shown a strong interest in gaming and social applications, so consumer penetration will be most important for the Rift. Meanwhile, HTC Vive is becoming the device of choice for enterprise developers after selling more than 400K at its $800 price point.”
SuperData further says that games accounted for 44 per cent of the VR market last year. The report points out that play sessions in VR are rather short: 7 minutes on mobile VR and 12 minutes on high-end headsets.
“While play sessions were short - roughly 10 minutes - they were engaging enough to keep players coming back often. Users experienced VR more than once a day on average, with mobile VR users in particular reaching for their headset almost 50 times a month,” the report says.
Samsung already announced sales figures for its Gear VR headset earlier this January.