Only 15 percent of gamers polled as part of a recent survey are definitively intending to purchase a high-end VR headset.
This survey was conducted by Gamer Network and was sent to 14,000 individual game enthusiasts across a myriad of the company’s different websites. Gamer Network is comprised of 13 different websites including Eurogamer, USGamer, GameIndustry.biz, and Rock Paper Shotgun. Eurogamer specifically is one of the internet’s largest gaming publicaptions, and GameIndustry.biz is arguably the top source for business focused game news. About 13,000 gamers responded to the survey according to an article publishing the survey’s results on GameIndustry.
According to the survey, 15 percent of gamers are intending to purchase a VR headset this year, 60 percent said they would not consider purchasing this year, and 25 percent were unsure if they would purchase or not. Also, 75 percent of the survey’s respondents indicated that they already own a gaming PC and 32 percent cited prices as their primary reason for abstaining from a VR purchase this year.
The price’s for two of the three major headsets have already been revealed. The Oculus Rift will cost $599 USD and the HTC Vive will run at $799 USD. Both prices do not include taxes or shipping costs. The third horse in this race, Sony’s PlayStation VR, has yet to announce a release date or a price, and yet this survey puts demand for the mysterious system above its two counterparts. Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed said that they would purchase PS VR as their primary headset and 35 percent of the polled gamers already own a PS4.
Whether or not 15 percent seems like a big or small number for this new consumer technology is up for interpretation, but it is indicative of how high gamers perceive the price of initial headsets. The percentage would undoubtedly be higher if initial headsets featured lower prices.
It should be noted that surveys like these exist to provide a general extrapolation by polling a specific sample size. Gamer Network websites are predominantly console focused, and only one console manufacturer will be releasing a VR headset this year. This 14,000 is a decent enough base to study, but the actual VR community is colossally more significant in terms of numbers and may not be represented fully within Gamer Network’s console-focused user base.
Sony alone has sold over 37 million Playstation 4 consoles. That means that if this 15 percent intent-to-buy number from the survey can be expected to prove true at the market level as well, then over 6 million VR headsets could be sold just to PS4 owners alone this year.
The statistic may seem low but taken into the larger context of a new kind of product’s initial availability to consumers, it is far from a death knell for this burgeoning industry. With 15,000 Vives potentially pre-ordered in just 10 minutes, early reports from HTC about the efficacy of the system’s pre-order campaign are already painting an encouraging picture.
When sales numbers and adoption rates become clearer in the next few months it will become much easier to accurately diagnose the state of VR from an economic perspective.
Update: Additional context added to this post and headline adjusted.