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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.

Superdata's latest VR projections.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry International in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at CBS-owned GameSpot in the US.

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