Future VR/AR Shipments Remain a Mystery
December 10, 2018
CCS Insight expects that slightly less than 8 million AR and VR devices will be sold in 2018, growing to 14 million in 2019 and to 52 million in 2022.
Shipments of VR and AR devices, worldwide, 2015-2022 Source: CCS Insight VR and AR forecast (November 2018)
Figure 1: VR/AR Forecast
Source: ABI Research, OLED-A
ABI Research reports that 2018 tethered and standalone VR shipments are expected to exceed those of previous years, mobile VR has taken a distant back seat to the latter, with few updates coming from major mobile players Samsung or Google. ABI Research lowered its installed base forecast to clear just over 140 million by 2023, contingent on mobile VR turning things around and again becoming a viable segment of the market. They categorize the VR market as diverged into two distinct user experiences, one where mobile and lower-priced standalone devices reside and stationary 3 Degree of Freedom (DoF) experiences predominate, and the other where tethered and premium standalone serve 6DoF and/or room-scale applications. While there are currently some standalone solutions that bridge the two, these are transitional devices. If Mobile VR continues to wither, the market will shift to dedicated devices and 6DoF, keeping VR a niche technology for a longer period. Mobile gaming is a massive market due to its significant user base that VR has not yet tapped into in a significant way. Without a large mobile VR user base, consumer-centric developers will focus on the premium side of the spectrum, where users are less price sensitive and generate more revenue per user. Successful console platforms hit tens of millions of units but with Microsoft Xbox still on the VR sideline, VR’s potential in this facet of the market remains limited. The slower development of the consumer market is also retarding the pace of innovation and technological advancement as a whole. A third researcher, IDC says that the VR headset market returned to growth in 3Q18 after four consecutive quarters of decline and now makes up 97% of the combined AR/VR market. Global shipments for VR headsets reached 1.9 million units in the quarter, up 8.2% from 3Q17, as extensive discounts on existing products and interest in new ones led to shipment gains in both the consumer and commercial markets.