The current VR market isn't so gloomy after all.
It’s no secret that the virtual reality (VR) industry can be tough to make money in, after all, it is still a fledgeling market finding its place in both the overall tech industry and the videogame industry. While recent quarters saw a decline in headset sales, a new report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) has shown a resurgence, with the market returning to growth in Q3 2018.
According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker the combined VR and augmented reality (AR) market grew 9.4 percent year over year in Q3, with global shipments of VR headset hitting 1.9 million units in that quarter.
Thanks to the release of Oculus Go and Xiaomi’s Mi VR, standalone headset sales grew 428.6 percent and accounted for 20.6 percent of the VR headset market, shipping nearly 250,000 devices worldwide. On the flipside, Samsung’s Gear VR declined by 58.6 percent attributed to fewer offers being available.
As for the tethered VR market sales surpassed 1 million units, with Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) shipping 463,000 PlayStation VR headsets during the quarter followed by Oculus Rift with 300,000 and HTC Vive with 230,000. Oculus is the top manufacturer for Q3 thanks to combined Oculus Rift and Oculus Go units capturing 25.9 percent of the entire VR market.
“The VR market is finally starting to come into its own,” said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers in a statement. “On the consumer front, the combination of lower prices and increased content is beginning to resonate with users. Meanwhile, commercial adoption is also on the rise for a range of use cases, including training, design, and showcasing.”
On the AR headset side Lenovo is doing the best with 23,000 headsets shipped, mostly comprised of the Star Wars Jedi Challenges headset. When it comes to the rest of the AR market this grew 1.1 percent over the previous year thanks to companies like Vuzix and Epson.
“The VR market is entering a new stage of maturity, where companies are setting aside the unrealistic expectations around explosive market growth and are focused instead on building more sustainable businesses,” said Tom Mainelli, program vice president, Devices and Augmented and Virtual Reality at IDC. “With regards to AR, hardware growth remains modest, but we see strong interest in the technology from many companies. We expect new hardware shipping in 2019, from both established players and new ones, to help move the industry beyond proof of concepts and pilots into larger deployments.”
With mostly positive figures all round it’ll be interesting to see how Q4 fares thanks to aggressive pricing around events like Black Friday.