Gear VR still most popular headset, ships 782k in Q1 – SuperData

SuperData has updated its VR headset shipment figures and Samsung’s Gear VR headset is once again the most shipped headset in Q1, according to the research firm’s estimates.

In Q1, the Gear VR shipped 782,000 units through to consumers and businesses, says SuperData, making it by far and away the most popular VR headset among users. It’s had a bit of help, though, as it’s currently being bundled in for free for those who pre-order Samsung’s Galaxy S8 smartphone.

The second-highest shipped headset is Sony’s PlayStation VR, which shipped 375,000 units. The HTC Vive came in third, shipping 95,000 units, while Oculus shipped just 64,000 units.

As a result, SuperData now estimates the Gear VR to ship 6.7m by the end of 2017, with Google Daydream headsets at 3.5m and PlayStation VR at 2.6m. Vive, meanwhile, is on track for 553,000 shipped units, while Oculus is set to hit 346,000 shipments.

"Samsung has said that the S8 is their best launch ever, outpacing the S7," SuperData’s VP of research and strategy and head of VR/AR strategyStephanie Llamas told MCV.

"A large portion of last year’s 4.5m Gear VR shipments came from S7 pre-orders so we anticipate the S8’s success with get even more devices into consumer hands. It’s far more affordable than PC or console headsets and is compatible with a larger share of mobile devices than Google’s Daydream. Daydream will eventually present competition for the Gear, but not yet.

"As far as other devices go, the manufacturing challenges that Oculus has faced have proven enormous for them, forcing them to hire former Fitbit COO Hans Hartmann this time last year. But this plus bad press, their Zenimax lawsuit and closed ecosystem comes from their ‘Oculus first’ mentality, making it much harder for them to compete with HTC Vive, which has always been ‘VR first’. HTC Vive didn’t get as caught up in focusing on games either – they have long supported all aspects of VR development, so Oculus is behind them there. Both companies still have a long way to go when it comes to keeping up with cheaper options, like Daydream or Gear."

MCV recently spoke to the teams at HTC, Sony and Oculus about the first year of VR and where it needs to go in the future, as well as nDreams, Climax Studios, Criterion and Svrvive about what it takes to build a successful business around VR.

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