Cheap headsets are carrying the VR market as high-end device sales struggle

Virtual Reality has been around for a short while now. However, the jury is still out on whether or not it is already a success or has some way to go to make a real impact on the technology market. While VR headsets are shipping at a rate of 2.3 million per quarter, there is a huge disparity in the success rates of cheap and simple devices compared to more high-end headsets.

Research by industry analyst firm IDC shows that while cheap devices are growing in popularity, the high-end products are struggling to get off the ground. “About two-thirds of all headset shipments were viewers like as Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Daydream View that rely on external screens,” IDC analyst Tom Mainelli said. “I would therefore expect most consumers to experience their first taste of augmented reality through the cameras and screens of their existing mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.”

He added: “It’s very early days in terms of augmented reality headsets, with the vast majority of products shipping into the market focused on getting hardware into the hands of developers. “More expensive tethered headsets make up the rest of the market. And there’s good news in the market’s rapid growth: shipments are up 77.4 per cent year over year – but that number represents broad a shallow demand as new products began shipping and existing headsets expanded distribution to additional countries.”

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset report, Samsung is leading the way in terms of unit sales with 489,500 shipments in the first quarter of 2017. Song is close behind with 429,000 shipments, while HTC has sold 190,900 devices in the same period. Facebook and TCL make up the top five manufacturers, shipping 99,300 and 91,300 units respectively.

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