2016 was a very important year for VR gaming as it saw the release of three major peripherals in PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. There are some people that have tried to say that VR gaming was simply a fad and won’t be relevant moving forward, but exposure is what is most important right now and it sounds like the new peripherals released have greatly helped.
Nielsen is the go to research firm for a variety of topics and they have published their U.S. Games 360 report for 2017 that talked about not only virtual reality gaming, but also the recently released Nintendo Switch and the upcoming Xbox One Project Scorpio.
According to the survey from Nielsen, 51% of the general population polled this year had heard of at least least one VR or AR device, which is up from the 28% from last year. For gamers specifically, that number was at 37% last year, but has now gone up to a whopping 63%. With the release of the three new headsets just in 2016 alone, along with the Gear VR, it’s no real surprise that many more people know about them. While headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require a powerful computer to run, PlayStation VR had to help with casual gamers.
However, Gear VR is the device that more Americans knew about than any others with 34% of consumers knowing about it, which is up from only 12% last year. PlayStation VR isn’t too far behind at 26%, which is up from 10% last year. Oculus Rift is neck and neck with PSVR as well at 25%, which is up from 16% in 2016.
Of the headsets available, the PlayStation VR was the most popular of the bunch, as 10% of gamers said they would definitely or probably purchase one. Those polled that were interested in purchasing VR headsets also tended to skew more male as well.
Outside of virtual reality, the report also stated that 16% of gamers and 12% of consumers are interested in purchasing a Nintendo Switch. Just a little lower than that, 13% of gamers and 9% of general consumers are interested in purchasing the Xbox One Project Scorpio.
It will definitely be interesting to see if virtual reality gaming can prove to be more than a fad. As long as the games can keep coming and stock can keep increasing, there’s a good chance we’ll see more games coming to each of the platforms.