VR Sales Analysis: Rift and Vive to Sell Under 500,000 in 2016, PS VR to Top 2 Million

by Joe Durbin • November 14th, 2016

The age of high-end, commercially available virtual reality began on March 28 with the launch of the Oculus Rift.

Since then the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Google Daydream View have all entered the arena. The reviews are in, and the software is already being devoured by the ravenous fans of each respective platform. What has not been clear, however, is how each of the combatants is fairing in the battle. However, a new industry report is shining some light on the mysterious state of this increasingly heated competition.

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SuperData Research is a New York based research firm that has been creating detailed reports on the immersive industry for months. Its most recent study centers around likely sales figures for the major VR headsets. The organization found that, by the end of 2016, the Oculus Rift is projected to sell 355,088 units; the HTC Vive will sell 420,108 units; Google Daydream will sell 450,083 units; and the PS VR will sell 2,602,307 units. In addition, the analysis also purports that the Samsung Gear VR — built in collaboration with Oculus — will sell 2,316,632 units. 

UploadVR reached out to SuperData to determine the firm’s process for arriving at these figures:

“SuperData’s approach to the market for consumer-centered virtual reality includes retail checks, executive interviews with decision-makers from all of relevant firms in the marketplace, pricing data, our survey-based consumer tracking panel, and digital content purchases collected from our data providers. We combine both proprietary and public data sources to arrive at an objective reading of the market, including financial information obtained through our client network. Analysts are expressly forbidden to buy, sell, hedge or otherwise deal in the securities of any of the following public companies whose primary revenues come from the creation, selling, or distribution of video games.”

The major VR manufacturers have been understandably quiet on their sales figures at this early market stage. In lieu of any official statement from those in the know at Oculus, HTC, Samsung, Google, Sony or Valve, SuperData’s comprehensive approach serves as our most reliable glimpse yet into the state of these fledgeling product lines.

The firm’s findings do support general industry theorizing and pre-release predictions. The PlayStation VR was predicted to emerge as 2016’s overall sales victor before it even launched. With over 40 million PlayStation 4s in the market, a lower price point and a massive foot in Asia’s door the stage seemed set for the veteran electronics company to trump its competition.

Similarly, the Rift may seem lagging but it is the first official product to be released solely from the Facebook owned Oculus. With a shaky initial launch, the fact that it requires a pricey personal computer to run and little to no market penetration in Asia, it would be more surprising perhaps to see the freshman company cross the 500,000 sales marker this early in its career.

It should also be noted when considering this data in general that electronics sales, particularly new product-types, typically experience dramatic year over year growth. The Apple iPhone, for example, sold only 1.39 million units when it released in 2007 before skyrocketing to 11.63 million in 2008 and over 100 million in 2012.

Official sales data from the major VR companies will be reported here at UploadVR as that information becomes available.

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