VR enthusiasts speculate that 2019 will be a big year for VR, as a multitude of VR headsets enter the market. Consumers may be waiting for the big headset (and right software) to launch, with the Rift S, Valve Index, VIVE Focus Plus, and Oculus Quest around the corner. Now, we have stats to back it up.
According to IDG, Worldwide shipments of augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets are forecast to reach 8.9 million units in 2019, up 54.1% from the prior year according to the Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker.
New headsets from brands such as Oculus, HTC, Microsoft, and others will help fuel the growth in 2019 and beyond,” said Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “However, it’s not just new products from headset makers that will drive the AR/VR market forward. Qualcomm’s latest silicon is also expected to play a major role in enabling hardware partners and providing network connectivity for content creators.”
“Some of the early movers in the VR space have wisely moved to embrace commercial use cases for the technology as they wait for more consumer-centric experiences beyond gaming and video to materialize,” said Tom Mainelli, group vice president, Devices & AR/VR at IDC. “The Augmented Reality side of the headset business has been largely enterprise-focused from the start, with a few notable exceptions, and we expect that trend to continue for the foreseeable future as most consumers in the near term will experience AR through their smartphone or tablet.”
It is encouraging that analysts are supporting the VR movement, backed by the potential of the new headsets coming in. The standalone headsets haver the sweet spot of power, software, and price for it to potentially kick off, hitting the ecosystem hard.
During OC5, Facebook said that there needs to be ten million VR users for the ecosystem to be self-sustaining and stable. Facebook wants a major chunk of that market, and is investing heavily to support developers and new software.
Currently, it looks more likely that the Oculus line of products will have more consumer attention, while the VIVE Focus plus is more focused on enterprise customers. The Valve index may have a great audience on PC, though time will tell whether it can catch up to the Oculus brand and market presence.