VR headset shipments surpassed 1M last quarter

Oculus Rift
Canalys attributed the higher growth rate to manufacturers like Oculus lowering the price of its hardware. (Oculus)

Virtual reality headsets are continuing to pick up the pace in terms of consumer adoption and now, according to Canalys, global shipments exceeded 1 million units for the first time last quarter.

Sony led the pack by shipping more than 490,000 PlayStation VR sets during the quarter. Following Sony was Oculus, which shipped 210,000 of its Rift headsets, and HTC, which shipped 160,000 Vive VR units. Together, Sony, Oculus and HTC made accounted for 86% of the total market in during the quarter.

Canalys attributed the higher growth rate to manufacturers like Oculus lowering the price of its hardware.

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“VR adoption in the consumer segment is highly dependent on price, and Oculus’ strategy of lowering prices has definitely helped drive adoption,” said Canalys Research Analyst Vincent Thielke in a statement. “Hugo Barra is betting on his next product, the $199 Oculus Go standalone headset, to reach more users next year. The Go will excite first-time users, but driving adoption beyond social media will be a challenge.”

Canalys expects the global VR headset market to get a boost in 2018 from new entrants supporting Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform.

“VR in business can be applied to many industries, such as manufacturing, healthcare and education,” said Canalys Analyst Jason Low in a statement. “As top-tier PC vendors, including HP, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Dell, launch their own VR headsets, using their distribution channel efficiencies, one can expect a strong VR uptake in business.”

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Accelerated sales of VR headsets is good news for creators of VR content. Although hardware represents the bulk of the revenue to be made in the VR market, Greenlight Insights said that 12% of revenues will stem from VR content. And overall, the global VR market could be worth $75 billion by 2021.

During this year’s CES in Las Vegas, CCS said it was concerned content was not keeping pace with the rapid development and release cycle of VR hardware.

“Despite the sharp increase in the number of companies exhibiting, little appears to have moved on in 12 months,” wrote CCS Insight. “The focus on hardware indicates an urgent need for greater attention to be paid to software and content if the technology is going to move beyond early adopters and fulfill its potential in the near term.”