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/ 22.08.2018

The Shutters Are Not Coming Down On VR, They Are Just Coming Up!

– Sol Rogers

On 16th August, Sony announced that its PlayStation VR headset had reached three million systems sold. It also revealed it had sold 21.9 million PSVR games, including critically acclaimed titles such as Resident Evil 7 Biohazard and Job Simulator. Considering the recent claims that VR headset sales are in a tailspin, this was a much needed announcement for the industry.  

So what about those claims? HTC VIVE neatly rebutted them on its blog, citing a lack of inventory behind the apparent decline of Vive sales: “VIVE has paced at its highest sales velocity of all time, for weeks on end, and we sold out. For a consumer electronic product in its third calendar year, this continued trajectory is nearly unheard of…as people begin to understand the possibilities for virtual applications, word of mouth will grow, and sales will continue their upward trajectory.”

It shouldn’t be forgotten that major advances in technology take time. Read this article on iPhone sales vs. VR devices. The figures show that in Year 1, both technologies had a similar number of units sold. Interesting…

While we are probably 18 months from a real watershed moment for VR, there is a lot of positive noise. For example, Sony’s current catalog of nearly 340 VR games and experiences is soon to be bolstered by new games including Creed: Rise to Glory from Survios, and sci-fi hero first-person shooter, Evasion, plus the much-anticipated Dreams from Media Molecule. And with Christmas fast approaching I’m sure we’ll have some solid new sales figures by the end of the year.  

And then there’s Oculus Go, with its estimated 289,000 shipments in Q2 2018, which helped major headset sales grow by almost 40% compared to the first quarter. “Oculus Go is part of an important movement for [extended reality],” said SuperData Research’s head of XR Stephanie Llamas. “Facebook sold more units of the standalone headset in its launch quarter than they did the Oculus Rift in the entire first half of 2017. Its price and convenience are proving to be selling points, but it will be up to them to create compelling content that keeps users engaged over and over again.”

I’ve always said content is king, so it’s great that Viveport now supports Oculus Rift compatible titles. From 4th September, Oculus Rift owners will be able to take part in everything Viveport has to offer, including the Viveport subscription. This $9 per month service allows VR headset owners to download and play five VR titles a month. Viveport president Rikard Steiber told Engadget the app store has seen four times the amount of paying customers in the first half of 2018, compared to last year, thanks largely to Viveport’s subscription offering.

While some stats paint a picture that it’s all doom and gloom, there are plenty of alternative views and evidence that VR is ramping up. And while the consumer base grows, VR is taking off big time with businesses, especially training and location-based entertainment companies. Enterprise numbers don’t hit consumer forecasts so it’s hard to see the whole picture. At REWIND, we are certainly seeing an appetite for VR, and all types of immersive content creation. VR is just getting started.

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