Two recent articles put out by Fortune and the Wall Street Journal seem to show a less than exuberant market for virtual reality devices that mainly hit the market this year. These articles, as with many others, focus almost solely on the home market, and any data concerning coin-op’s flirtation with this new technology is not included.
HTC’s Vive headset was released in March this year, and sales data has slowly been leaking out while the market seems to hesitantly adopt this tech. Over 100,000 Vive headsets have been sold since then, each at $800 a pop (which doesn’t include the high-end gaming computer most consumer’s need on top of the headset.)
This sales figure, equaling and estimated $62 million in revenue, seems to display that VR is far from a flop, but according to the Fortune article, some analysts have cut their estimates for VR sales this year, mainly due to the high price. The market research firm Tractica estimates on the high end that 20 million VR devices could be sold by 2020, while another smaller estimate on Gamasutra.com assumes 300,000 sold by the end of a year.
Most analysts agree that cheaper VR hardware, such as Samsung’s Gear VR which simply houses your smart phone, could sell up to 10 times as many units.
The market still seems eager to see where this technology goes, and seems interested in pursuing it. If VR becomes an attraction in FECs and out-of-home entertainment centers, cheaper access will allow more people to experience the technology without having to shell out hundreds of dollars to play it at home, which could in turn push the home market forward. Not too farfetched, if you consider the extreme prevalence of video games now and how the arcades of the late ’70s and beyond introduced that technology to many.