Being designed primarily for video games, virtual reality headsets will unlikely become popular overnight after they hit the market in 2016, but several years down the road their installed base will approach that of certain game consoles, according to a study from Juniper Research.
Analysts from Juniper Research predict that sales of various VR headsets in their first year of availability will hit around three million units. Cumulative sales of virtual reality head mounted displays by 2020 will hit 30 million units, which is comparable to installed base of the first-generation Microsoft Xbox game console. According to Juniper, hardware retail revenue from VR HMD headset sales will exceed $4 billion by 2020.
Analysts from Juniper believe that VR headsets will get more popular over time because of multiple things, including improved quality of virtual reality games and software applications, HMD price reductions and improved quality of VR hardware.
“The recent attention to and investment into virtual reality is helping to revitalise the industry and with major brand commercial launches imminent, there is huge potential for rapid market expansion,” said Joe Crabtree, a co-author of the report.
Juniper’s predictions regarding adoption of VR HMDs seem to be very realistic. Sales of enthusiast-class graphics cards that cost over $300 per unit total around three million units per year, according to companies like Jon Peddie Research or Mercury Research. Theoretically, the majority of video game enthusiasts could buy a VR headset sometimes next year, but it is unlikely that sales of VR headsets will exceed sales of graphics cards for gamers.
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KitGuru Says: Three million virtual reality HMDs in 2016 is not a lot. But at least, this is a realistic prediction.