So far, the VR-gaming industry has roughly been divided into a casual sector, dominated by Samsung and Google, and the high end led by Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive (both unveiled this spring). Sony, which released its own headset on October 13th with much fanfare, came relatively late to the game. But with a product more powerful than the mass-market devices, and more affordable than the top-tier ones, it may have a sweet spot all to itself. Moreover, it can rely on a captive global customer base of over 40m Playstation 4 users, forecast to surpass 50m by Christmas. As a result, the Sony headset is expected to make an immediate impact. IHS Markit, an analytics provider, projects the firm will make $134m from VR sales in the next few months.
WITHIN a decade, virtual-reality (VR) technology is expected to transform the way businesses interact with customers. Immersive, 360-degree experiences, complete with touch and temperature sensations, should become the norm. As early as 2020, spending is forecast to reach $7.9 billion on VR headsets and $3.3 billion on VR entertainment. In the short run, however, VR primarily remains the preserve of gamers. The companies releasing the latest wave of console and headset devices are not only bringing joy to aficionados of “The Lab” and “Gunjack”, but also jockeying for position to compete in a much larger market once the technology goes mainstream.