For all the furore around the long-awaited arrival of commercial virtual reality devices, concrete sales figures have been extremely hard to come by. However, Samsung has now revealed how many Gear VR headsets it has managed to shift.
According to Samsung Electronics America boss Tim Baxter, there are now more than five million Samsung Gear VRs in people's homes. The milestone was announced during this week's CES 2017, UploadVR reports.
It has taken just over a year for the device to generate five million sales, having launched in November 2015 - the first in the current wave of VR headsets to be released to consumers. While high-end virtual reality platforms such as Gear's bigger brother Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have so far primarily appealed to core gamers and tech enthusiasts, Samsung has utilised its mobile business to bundle Gear with its various smartphones in order to appeal to the mainstream.
This strategy combined with the rising awareness of virtual reality seems to have done the trick. Upload reports that Oculus revealed there were 1m Gear users back in May, meaning four out of five headsets have been sold in the last eight months.
With so many developers pouring time and resources into virtual reality, it's good to get more insight into whether there is actually an audience out there to sell to. While Oculus has yet to reveal sales figures for its pioneering Rift headset, rival HTC claims to have sold more than 140,000 and Sony says PlayStation VR, which launched in October, has already sold "many hundreds of thousands" of units.
During CES 2017, Baxter also revealed that Gear users have watched more than 10m hours of 360-degree videos, although there were no figures on how much time was spent playing games.
2016 was a crucial year for virtual reality with the arrival of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Hopes will be high for growth in 2017, although Unity CEO John Riccitiello recently said he doubted the industry would see "explosive growth".