Who’s Going to Buy a Virtual Reality Headset? Obviously this was a key question considered when we started to construct our market sizing analysis of the Consumer Virtual Reality market in late 2013.
Our market forecast covers the period 2014 to 2018 and takes into account the initial developer kits made available by headset manufacturers as well as the initial consumer markets that will embrace VR technology.
Three primary markets have been identified for consumer VR, as follows:
Enthusiasts, Hardcore Gamers and Innovators
The VR enthusiasts market purchased circa 60k units of the Oculus Rift DK1 and circa 30k units of the DK2 have already been pre-ordered. Who are these enthusiasts? Well, it’s the 9.5k people that backed Oculus VR on Kickstarter, supplemented (with overlap of course) with the 28k members of the highly active Oculus Reddit group. These people come from a mixture of IT, the game development industry, marketing/ad agencies and the like.
As more headset manufacturers release developer kits (we expect two more this year) we forecast total 2014 sales to exceed 200k. In 2015 we estimate this element of the market accounting for just over 1m unit sales as headsets such as the CV1 (from Oculus) along with the launch of the Morpheus headset from Sony and other start-ups bring their devices to market. Unit sales from the Enthusiasts/Hardcore Gamer/Innovator segment are then predicted to rise to 2m in 2016 then up to 4m by 2018.
Perhaps the term ‘Hardcore Gamers’ is a little harsh or even slightly out of date. What is meant by this classification is consumers happy to spend significant amounts of their time and disposable income on gaming. And gaming in this sense is defined as MMORPG-type games along with virtual worlds such as Second Life. Importantly with this segment of the market the PC (as opposed to the console or tablet) is the access-point.
Before the other two primary consumer market drivers are explained, here’s a chart showing annual unit sales from all three segments. Continue reading →