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Superdata cuts VR forecast by 30%

Research firm tempers 2016 expectations for new tech but still bullish for future, expects console VR to reach larger audience than PC

Superdata's initial enthusiasm for virtual reality has been somewhat tempered in the near-term. The research firm today released updated projections for the tech that show it getting off to a slower start than previously anticipated.

For 2016, Superdata now expects worldwide VR revenues to total $3.6 billion, 30 percent less than the $5.1 billion it projected at the beginning of January. The firm's director of research and insights Stephanie Llamas explained the adjustment to GamesIndustry.biz.

"Since we published our original figures, we have had a number of conversations with both hardware and software developers, as well as access to newly public information." Llamas said. "We previously overestimated PC and mobile hardware penetration and underestimated console hardware sales. Console will be high-end VR's white horse since it has lower hardware requirements, easier set-up and lower pricing. PlayStation's 35 million-plus users are also a far larger accessible audience than that of high-end PCs, which tops off at about 17 million.

"John Riccitiello's 'gap of disappointment' (slow hardware adoption that accelerates after a few years) forced us to take a harder look at hardware's growth within a historical narrative. We found that media adoption (e.g., TV, computers, smartphones, etc.) has always seen exponential growth that can be attributed to easier access and decreasing prices. However, this initial lull in adoption has shortened due to both product visibility on a global scale and the speed at which manufacturing costs drop. So although we see that initial struggle for VR, there will be a relatively quick push upward within the next 3-5 years."

The price announcements for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were not a factor in the lowered expectations for 2016, Llamas said, as the firm's January projections were already based on Rift with a $600 price tag and Vive at $800.

Despite the lowered outlook in the near-term, Superdata still expects VR to reach the same heights as it previously forecast. The firm's new numbers have VR hardware and software combining to bring in $22.9 billion by 2020.

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Superdata's latest VR projections.

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Latest comments (4)

Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide9 months ago
Wow .. Sony must be licking their lips.

The only space with no competition.

Can't wait to hear what they have to say on the 15th :)
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 months ago
And still overestimating it.

These figures are still based on industry hype rather than actual consumer demand. $3.6 billion?
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With the fragmentation of the original VR community, (following the drive away from open source to a walled garden approach), we have seen the hype and speculation overwhelm the social media, in part fuelled by the preference of the echo chamber of Tweeting information than official statement. In this atmosphere the hype has driven the evaluation of the market worth, and linked with uncomfortable rivalry and fanboy antics (BlackPR); those compiling the evaluation of market worth the information has proven confusing and in some point over estimated and highly manipulated.

With the knowledge that those that predicted a high price for the Hardware and HMD's to run 'strong' VR were correct - the realisation struck many that the attacks on those prediction were actually fuelling a miscomprehension of the reality of the VR market, manipulated to manage market positioning.

The promise of out the stalls strong mainstream adoption now looking only achievable from mobile phone VR holsters, or by the Sony console approach (again heavily dependant on a believable price point). With Facebook now flying the idea of a 15-year path to adoption, many feel they may have been suckered for a second time into over hyping the possibility for this technology way beyond its means!

In all of this also swirls the possibility that consumer VR may be some way off from being widely adopted, and that many of the statistical calculations on market worth have ignored the opportunities in the Out-of-Home entertainment VR sector, explaining the great interest in projects like TheVOID - this omission could represent more than just a 30% defecate in the final reckoning of market worth!
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios8 months ago
more than just a 30% defecate in the final reckoning of market worth!
Best typo ever, Kevin :)
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