Tiny sales forecast for Vive and Oculus in the US this year

Virtual reality may have to wait a while longer before it makes any meaningful impact on the market.

VentureBeat reports that a forecast by Strategy Analystics predicts that just six per cent of Americans – that’s 11.4m people – will own a VR headset by the end of 2016. That equates to around $556m in revenue.

However, just one per cent of those will be high-end options such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. 93 per cent, in contrast, will opt for a cheaper smartphone-based option.

Those numbers, incidentally, point to a total of 114k Vive and Oculus sales in the US this year.

These numbers are likely to be higher in other territories, too, thanks to several promotions that have seen headsets given to the public for free – including 1.5m from the New York Times.

Despite the rush of companies eager to jump in, the reality is that VR take-up among the US public will be a slow burn and dominated by low-cost headsets,” analyst David MacQueen said. To put its popularity in context, it will take about 18 months for VR headsets to reach the level of household penetration that say Netflix has now, but that penetration will still be totally dominated by the cheaper smartphone headsets.

The VR headset market will be much like the car market — most owning the likes of Fords and Toyotas, a handful owning Porsches, and the odd few splashing out on a Ferrari.”

It does expect this number to rise to 40 per cent ownership by 2020, however, once VR starts to offer incentives to other sectors such as sports, education and social networking.

The report doesn’t seem to mention the PlayStation VR, which arrived yesterday to a tremendous reception. It is already hard to come by on the UK High Street, although Sony has yet to divulge any sales figures.

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