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9% of US broadband homes plan to purchase a VR headset within a year: Parks Associate

MUMBAI: Nine per cent of US broadband households plan to purchase a virtual reality headset within the next year, according to a forecast by Parks Associates.

‘Virtual Reality: Disrupting the Entertainment Experience’ shows purchase intentions have nearly doubled since early 2016, when only five per cent planned to purchase a VR headset.

“The budding virtual reality market is just in its infancy. VR has the potential to breathe new life into important CE device categories that have reached saturation, but challenges are hindering wider adoption. Familiarity is low, with fewer than 13% of consumers having experienced VR first hand. The evolution of multiple players, each with their own approach to headset hardware, has resulted in a fragmented marketplace, which affects both content availability and future innovation. Despite these factors, the market is experiencing positive growth, with year-over-year increases in adoption and purchase intentions. The VR market will see changes over the next two to three years, with new technologies such as eye tracking and mixed reality being integrated into the evolving VR experience,” said Parks Associates researcher Hunter Sappington.

Parks Associates reveals that Samsung’s Gear VR currently leads the VR market, with Sony’s PlayStation VR taking the second spot. Among US consumers who purchased a VR headset in 2016, 31 per cent bought a Samsung VR and 12 per cent bought a PlayStation VR. Parks Associates forecasts approximately 24 million households worldwide will own at least one virtual reality device by year-end 2017 and 77 million households by 2021.

“Virtual reality has the potential to impact multiple industries beyond entertainment with its versatility and ever-increasing applications, including health, education, and industrial design. Gaming is, by far, the leading use case, but potential VR buyers are also showing interest in videos, virtual sports stadiums, and virtual tours. Players like Google, Samsung, and Facebook are pushing VR into new areas, including content, mobile, and social use cases. As headsets become increasingly available and users experience VR for themselves, interest will grow. An expanding base of users will be key in motivating hardware makers, retailers, content producers, and service providers to continue to invest in this promising technology,” said Parks Associates research analyst Tu Skuse.