VR gaming was supposed to take the world by storm in 2016, and while there was a ton of excitement, the sales weren’t there to really start a revolution. High prices, demanding hardware, and a lack of fresh games caused VR sales to stagnate in many ways. Recent price cuts and the launch of the much lower priced PSVR has caused a bit of a resurgence lately though, and it looks like Sony is benefiting the most from this as the PSVR headset is dominating the VR market.
Last quarter was the first time that VR headsets collectively moved over a million units, with PSVR making up almost half of all sales, according to a report from Gamesindustry.biz. “Sony accounted for nearly half of sales, shifting 490,000 units. Oculus lagged behind at 210,000 units, while HTC sold 160,000. Collectively the big three made up for 86% of the total Q3 2017.”
Oculus recently lowered their price significantly, dropping from it’s original price of $599 (which I once called dangerous for VR’s future) down to $499 and finally $399. The HTC Vive also had its price slashed during this time, though it still remains the most expensive at $599 for its bundled hardware. Meanwhile the PSVR launched at a lower price point than them all at $399 for the headset and $499 for its Move bundle, and deals have only seen this price go lower as time has gone on.
This, combined with the easier and cheaper hardware requirements, has led to the PSVR dominating the market, especially in Japan. “Sony has dominated the Japanese VR headset market since the release of the PSVR, taking more than an 80% share, and will continue to lead as it increases supply of the PSVR headset with bundles featuring new titles from popular franchises, including Doom, Skyrim and Gran Turismo,” said Canalys analyst Jason Low.
2018 will be a big year for VR if these trends continue. More AAA developers are starting to take notice, such as Bethesda who just launched Skyrim VR and has two more big games coming with DOOM VFR and Fallout 4 VR. Perhaps the VR revolution just took more time than we all thought it would.