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The VR Experience: Challenges for a Growing Market

Virtual reality devices, including headsets and peripherals, offer consumers and businesses new ways to live and work. share immersive content for educational, social and other purposes.

VR's unique ability to promote user interaction through highly immersive content offers untapped potential in terms of storytelling, advertising, medical practice, business, travel and more again. Virtual reality headsets are now available at increasingly affordable prices, and many consumers have hardware that can support the requirements of VR software.

Compared to other consumer technology products, adoption rates, purchase and purchase of VR headset remain extremely low.

Slow start

Only 7% of US broadband households surveyed had at least one virtual reality headset in the third quarter of 2017. Three percent said they had bought a headset the previous year and 14% said they wanted to buy a headset the previous year. buy one in the coming year. These rates reflect a very young market.

The growth rate from one year to the next was, however, significant. Adoption and purchase rates tripled between the beginning of 2016 and the third quarter of 2017. The percentage of broadband households having indicated their intention to buy one or more headsets virtual reality during the year almost tripled over the same 18 month period.

Many companies are predicting strong growth for the virtual reality market as headphones and content become more available and accessible.

The big companies that launched the first efforts for consumer protection – Facebook, Valve / HTC, Sony, Samsung and Google – continue to dominate the market today. Microsoft has joined them with the release of its Windows Mixed Reality headsets by the end of 2017. HTC Vive and Oculus Rift still dominate PC premium space, while Samsung and Google continue to dominate the virtual reality market mobile.

The price remains a constraint, especially for displays mounted on the mid-range and high end. The industry needs to tackle several factors before the RV reaches a stronger dominant presence.

Lack of familiarity

Less than a quarter (23%) of consumers surveyed were familiar or very familiar with virtual reality, let alone said they were familiar with some virtual reality headsets.

Because the value of VR is better understood in the experience, headset demos are the key to adopting virtual reality. In the first quarter of 2017, less than 13% of consumers had experienced virtual reality – a statistic that must change for virtual reality in order to be adopted by the general public.

Fragmentation of technology

RV market players have experimented with a variety of tracking, capture and content technologies, with no common standards followed by the entire industry. As a result, much of the product content remains constrained to particular headphone hardware, and conversion to alternative hardware is often expensive.

This fragmentation makes the development of content expensive and limits the distribution of content. In the absence of a dominant virtual reality helmet maker and a weak prospect of short-term consensus, the lack of standardization will remain a problem for the next few years.

User experience issues

The different approaches to VR technology present unique user experience problems that the virtual reality headsets of the current generation have not yet solved.

Comments on the user experience of those who own or have tried virtual reality headsets have been mixed, based on Parks Associates data. Although the majority of respondents said that they would like to be able to experience virtual reality at home, more than half of them said that they did not think that Experience is worth buying a headset. Most said that the experience exceeded their expectations, but a fifth replied that no. One-third found the VR experience disorienting or uncomfortable.

Absence of concise value proposition

Virtual reality describes a way of experimenting with content rather than promoting the type, purpose or value of the content itself. Potential use cases are vast and this diversity of objectives makes technology an attractive investment. It could eventually become so prevalent that it would be indispensable in some industries.

Yet fragmentation in use cases can slow down the initial pull. While video games, 360-degree video streaming and virtual travel are all convincing cases of use, no ecosystem is sufficiently developed to allow helmet sales to fend for themselves.

Despite a slow initial adoption, virtual reality has the potential to give life to a consumer electronics market that may languish. Its latest series of innovative and disruptive devices – smartphones and tablets – has quickly reached maturity.

More than 77 million homes will have virtual reality devices by 2021, according to Parks Associates forecasts. That's 2.3 times more than the number who owned a device in 2017.

The growth of the RV market will continue to be driven primarily by players and amateurs, although live broadcasts of Olympic games, sports and other live events by companies such as that NBC and NextVR are becoming more and more popular.

Market players and observers should continue to be very attentive, as the virtual reality market could change dramatically in the next two to three years.

Hunter Sappington is a research analyst at
Parks Associates.

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