SuperData predicts huge gains for virtual reality over the next four years

SuperData was rather famously quoted all throughout the industry at the end of 2016 following its research-backed proclamation that virtual reality was the “biggest loser” of the holiday gaming sales season. But this week, the company has issued an infographic suggesting that VR is now “on the rise” and its best days are ahead of it.

Last November, the research firm adjusted its original estimates for VR sales after both Sony and Google saw significantly fewer than anticipated VR headsets sold to consumers. However, SuperData explained at the time that headsets were suffering from “supply inconsistencies,” poor sales tactics during the holidays, and the absence of high-demand games and apps to drive sales — none of which was irreversible.

The new infographic anticipates a “steep rise” in VR adoption over the next few years, though it’ll be one still vastly overshadowed by the use of TV, phones, and PCs. While SuperData suggests most of the profits are in the devices themselves right now, it predicts that by 2020, revenue from VR will near $40B US and eventually be more evenly distributed over hardware and software.

By the by, even if every other VR device teamed up, the Samsung Gear would still kick their butts all by itself in terms of VR devices shipped last year — it’s not even close. Take a peek below.

Source: Superdata
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37 Comments on "SuperData predicts huge gains for virtual reality over the next four years"

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Alex Malone

I’d love to know how superdata are making their predictions.

All of 2016, they were wrong about VR. Like, every single time they predicted anything about VR, they were spectacularly wrong.

Also, I’m guessing “units shipped” is very different to “units sold”, because superdata were telling us that the Oculus had only sold ~120k units by November time. I guess they might have doubled their total annual sales in a single month, but I doubt it.

Finally, Superdata have proven themselves completely inept at analysing data. They are OK at collecting it, but analysis has always been their weak point. For this, in particular, they don’t seem to be considering the product itself. Steep adoption rate, similar to colour TV and cell phones? Idiots.

Colour TV = 100% upgrade over black and white, so of course adoption rate it high.
Mobile Phone = 99% upgrade over landline (only downside is battery life).
VR Headsets = sidegrade.

There is absolutely no reason to believe adoption rate will be that high. Sure, you gain 3D vision with a wide field of vision, but you have to wear a big headset (downside), it makes you nauseous (downside), its stupidly expensive (downside), it cuts out your vision of the real world (downside) and is really disjointed in terms of movement (downside). VR really is a gimmick, rather than an upgrade, which is why I don’t believe any of these predictions.

Instead, perhaps VR should be compared to other technology gimmicks, like 3DTVs, Segways, Hoverboards etc. Chances are it will have a decent enough start, then once the gimmick wears off it’ll be reduced to a small niche of enthusiasts.

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rafael12104

Hmm. So, who freaking knows. Seriously. Consumers are a fickle bunch. Last year Pokemon-Go revolutionized gaming and MMOs creating a new catagory in and of itself. This year, they have already lost 80 percent of their base.

3DTVs, The Betamax, The Sega Dreamcast, you can probably add to the list of failures that were a sure success.

So I don’t know. I tried Oculus and I liked it. I didn’t like the price or the bulky headgear, but things can change. BUT as I said before, they need that killer app/game. The game that will sell the hardware and not just as a nuance.

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Pedge Jameson

comment image

miol
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miol

This only shows, how SuperData likes to bait and switch!
Not a very scientific or sincere approach!

/bleah

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Soon, we’ll all plug our brains into the Matrix for the ultimate MMO immersion.

Just like Sword Arts Online.

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Danny Smith

Maybe in the service and manufactory industries, as home entertainment i would love to see what ‘killer apps’ will take it beyond the current Kinect 3.0 state the kids call “falling for the VR meme”, unless the analysts REALLY like “stand in one spot and shoot waves of floating things for $40” style games.

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Schmidt.Capela

I’m wondering how they deal with devices like Daydream and Gear VR in their prediction. Do they count the price of the smartphone that powers those in their VR hardware numbers?

Also, with games and apps that can be used both with or without VR, how are they counting those? I have a few VR-enabled games that I never played in VR, for example.

BTW, if the current trend is kept, expect to see plenty of devices that turn common smartphones into VR headsets, like Daydream and GearVR, plus smartphone VR apps, but comparatively few computer and console-based VR headsets and games. And this will likely remain the adoption pattern until PC and console VR headsets become far cheaper (my guess is that it would take sub-$100 prices to reach mainstream adoption).

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Melissa McDonald

Resistance is futile. *sips mug of ale* :)
I’ve accepted that this site has a quite a few scoffers. that’s ok. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of VR. The data is all there. The sales are tremendous for such a fledgling technology.
“Up, up, up, there’s no way but up from here.” – Shania Twain

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Pedge Jameson

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I know you always really get excited over the VR thing, but the fanboi comments are overbearing. :P

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Greaterdivinity

For most of us, we’re just exhausted of hearing about how VR dominance is “JUST OVER THE HORIZON!”…which we’ve been told nonstop for the past 2-3 years.

When it happens, great. But being constantly bludgeoned by analysts and consumer tech media with their nonstop hype (remember when they were all hyping up 3D TV’s?!) is tiring and annoying. It’s pretty obvious that it’s nowhere near as immediate as the forecasts continue to predict, remember when analysts were forecasting multi-million unit sales for PSVR in 2016? The headset is absolutely doing well (largely due to its comparatively lower price point for the headset and PS4 [compared to say a Rift and a PC capable of handling it] and easier “plug and play” setup compared to PC solutions right now), but it failed to crest 1M units shipped, much less sold through consumers.

Us scoffers are not haters, for the most part. The reality is that the data isn’t there to support the explosive growth that Superdata is forecasting. It hasn’t been there for years, which is why the consistently bullish estimates are constantly being revised well below initial targets. The tech and market simply aren’t ready, and we’re going to need to get some absolutely killer software that currently isn’t really anywhere in sight.

VR may be seeing a resurgence, but it’s far from a fledgling technology. It’s been around for a while, and is getting to the point where it’s technically and financially viable for consumer use. But it’s going to be a while before it starts being adopted by the general public, just as it took quite a while for everything from personal computers, to cell phones, to DVD’s etc. to get to the point where they were affordable enough and of high enough quality for mass-market adoption.

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Arktouros

This really depends on who you listen to.

A company like Oculus, for example, is trying to build a market and focus on market growth. It’s predictable you’re going to hear them talking up “the next big thing!” and focus on trying to drop the price to get more people involved. They launched with a cheaper package with less features (no motion controls) and have stated they are forgoing working out things like Wireless because they want to bring the cost down and Wireless will bring it up.

A company like Valve, on the other hand, has gone on record that they don’t know if VR will really be the next big thing. An example Gabe Newell used was the Vive where Wii Sports was pretty fantastic but other titles were pretty lackluster. For them it’s about designing a new way to interact with games because it’s new and interesting. They’re focusing heavily on bringing the technology to a good point and then will later focus on how to cut costs.

Holding current versions of VR to previous standards is, largely, nonsensical. There’s really no product that comes even remotely close to the kinds of experiences offered today.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Affordability is the big one here. There will always be people who must have whatever new trinket hits the market. For the rest of us, it needs to prove itself and be affordable, two things that have not happened yet.

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Arktouros

Really a question of experience as well though.

Like when I mentioned I got a Vive last year to a Coworker they had gotten a Samsung GearVR with their phone and thought the whole thing was pretty lame. I couldn’t really disagree because if all I had was some screen strapped to my face that does indeed seem pretty lame despite being the most cost efficient product. So if the only way to bring the costs down is provide a lame experience that doesn’t seem like it’s a good choice.

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Nordavind

20 years is not that young tech.

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Hirku

That’s nice, but until it involves not having screens strapped to my face I’ll continue to not give a crap.

flatline4400
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flatline4400

lol… yeah, no.

And may as well put a “Sponsored by – Facebook” disclaimer on these conclusions…

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Witches

If these guys looked at their own charts for games, they would see it’s very unlikely that VR will ever be the next big thing.

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Rheem Octuris

I see two problems with this:
1. They’re predicting in the next two to three years that one in four households will have a VR device, which I don’t see happening.
2. The VR graph line starts in 2010, while VR systems have been available to consumers since 1995’s Virtual Boy. Taking that into account, and the fact that only 5% or so households have a VR device currently, it will take another 100 years for the technology to be commonplace.

See, I can make up predictions using whatever date I wish too. Doesn’t mean its true.

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Rheem Octuris

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, the Virtual Boy sold 800k units in its first (and only) year. Sales price was about $180 USD, or $290 USD today.

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Arktouros

Comparing something like the Virtual Boy to modern VR headsets is like comparing the Apple Newton to the Apple iPad. Technologies advance. Things get better. The current headsets we have today are going to be nothing compared to second or third generation headsets (and that isn’t speculative hyperbole, it’s based on things they’ve already worked out).

Making comparisons to old, irrelevant technologies loosely related in name only is, simply put, embarrassing. I mean, why not make a Lawnmower Man reference while you’re at it?

Damn…now I want a Blue/Red Hexagon background for my Vive landing area :D

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rafael12104

You get bonus points for remembering the Newton. Yeah, I bought one……………

Line
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Line

20% of the US households will have a VR product in three years? Are they out of their fucking minds?
Games lead software sales? You don’t say.
Superdata has always been awful, but this is reaching new heights.

Anyway, VR is not doing well at all right now.
No reason to invest in VR games with such a small market (let’s be real, if it reaches 2M by the end of the year it would be a big success; and no the Gear VR is not relevant to anything, like the mobile industry it’s a waste of time for anyone not involved in scam gacha games), and sales are not too hot.
Hell Sony never even bothered to hide that they don’t give a shit about their PSVR.

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Arktouros

Anyway, VR is not doing well at all right now.

This is factually false.

According to all device makers VR headset adoption rates have seen consistent and constant growth since the devices have released. Sony’s President has also commented that he has been actually surprised how well it’s been doing. Furthermore companies are starting to work on high quality VR games at this stage. From Fallout 4 being adapted for VR (which we’ll see in more details in a few months) to Valve announcing 3 titles it’s working on (they are working on, not other companies) companies are getting into it. High Quality games and projects take years to put together so we won’t really see how that goes until 2018 or 2020. While, certainly, Superdata’s predictions are baseless horseshit, VR is actually doing well and progressing at it’s own pace.

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Line

Nope.
Mobile VR is doing okay, on PC it’s slow (quite an understatement, as the Oculus is an abject failure, plagued by media shitstorms and even worse legal troubles), the PSVR is not doing well.
Oh, they did claim that they sold well. And just a couple days ago they also want to expand in other commercial endavours (like theme parks apparently) because it’s not moving units.
They undershipped for PR as usual, and then… well, you can buy them easily at online retailers, so, yeah.

But more importantly: nobody’s investing in VR outside of the crazy people at CCP. And they’ve always bet on the wrong horse, so that not even a surprise.
Do you see Sony first party studios working on PSVR? Of course not. Hell, the rush jobs of existing games like Drive Club have been with studio closure before it was really finished.

Things take years indeed, and it has been years since we’ve heard about Fallout 4. Still nowhere to be seen. Like all the other nebulous projects that get shitcanned along the way.
The entire VR industry lives in a dream of fake products that don’t get delivered.

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Arktouros

Yes, it is. There are multiple sources out there of both the Sony corporation (PSVR) and Valve (VIVE) stating they both extremely happy with constant user growth and adoption rates currently with their products. These are documented facts. As of Feburary Sony was on track to hit their 6 month projection and were almost there after just 4 months.

I mean, simply put, all you got is tinfoil conspiracies. None of the facts or news stories provided by any of these companies back up any of your claims. More over your arguments lack consistency or logic. You argue below that:

It’s only rich enthusiasts that are interested in VR right now.

Then in turn state it’s an abject failure because there aren’t many estimated sold. If it’s only for “rich enthusiasts” then it stands to reason there wouldn’t be that many sold as there aren’t that many “rich enthusiasts,” right?

It has literally been almost one year about Fallout 4. They showed at a Demo at a conference last year in June, and this year’s conference they are showing the full non-demo of the game. I mean with how little you are factually correct on your statements, I think we got a clear idea of who’s living int he dream world of fake news and alternative facts.

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Greaterdivinity

*Yawns*

Analysts and tech journalists have been predicting explosive growth and that “THIS IS THE YEAR OF VR!” for years. It’s coming, sure, but I’m still unconvinced it’s as immediate as they all say…especially given that it’s still not as immediate as they’ve been saying for years.

I’m still bearish on the VR market in the more immediate sense (especially with how poor quality a lot of the software is), but bullish on the prospects for VR or mixed reality AR (especially the latter, I think Microsoft is currently setting themselves up to be in a fantastic position when this tech is ready for the market) in the longer term.

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Bannex

Glasses improve your vision and reduce headaches as well as fatigue yet people with vision issues will do anything to not wear them.

Until there are VR contacts I’m willing to bet it won’t hit the levels these analysts claim unless they manage to make a $75 headset

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Alex Willis

Many also said there was no way people would carry a phone around in their pockets because of how inconvenient they were.

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Line

… and it took nearly twenty years for phones to be small enough and popular enough to become the staple that we know today, with many failed attempts and just as many companies left in the dust.

The comparison to 3D is apt, as the market never materialized.
Much closer to VR, I would add motion controls that are dead in the water.

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Arktouros

Yes, it takes time. Most technologies took time to refine, develop, and progress.

There’s stark differences between the regular TV/ 3DTV and traditional seated PC gaming / VR gaming. The comparison is not apt at all because, fundamentally speaking, a 3DTV doesn’t really add or change the experience. It’s still, fundamentally, the same experience with added cost. Throwing out random technologies that have “failed” to fuel an argument just doesn’t work.

Better comparisons would be attempts at new forms of interacting with entertainment products such as the Kinect or Wii.

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Line

But VR is the same experience with a screen stuck to your head.
We’re decades away from true VR with tactile feedback and complete freedom of movement.

Thing is: you don’t want anything to do with the people selling products that “‘will get better and need work”.
It’s only rich enthusiasts that are interested in VR right now.

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Arktouros

Saying that shows a fundamental lack of understanding or experience with the current generation of VR. For example there is currently feedback and in some cases it’s done great. A great example is Vanishing Realms where much of the advanced game revolves around poking in/around barrels (leaning over, interacting with the “world” etc). Saying something like we’re “decades away” is just nonsensical.

I 10000% agree that VR, currently, is at the enthusiast stage. I have never argued otherwise. Even as a Vive owner or VR Enthusiast I wouldn’t recommend anyone get into it currently. Right now, it’s a technology experiment. Why anyone is rooting against or trying to draw comparisons to other failed technologies is beyond baffling.

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Bannex

I wonder what supersdata can tell me about my next bowel movement…

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Stormwaltz

VR will have “huge gains,” but the first graph shows household adoption levels boldly overtaking… VCRs. :)

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Arktouros

This company is a joke. It’s always these wild predictions that people go on to quote as pure fact when it comes time to criticize VR for reality not keeping up with these insane guesses.

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Alex Willis

I’m not a market trend watcher, but anecdotally, I have seen VR popping up in areas that suggest a casual uptake that is far more diverse than a narrow, game-centered application. Everything from education to seniors’ residence usages to therapy — off-the-shelf VR units are being purposed to effect and used in services that are not niche-specific. This points to a broader conversancy than single-application sales studies would suggest.

I don’t find any of this surprising, but some people do. People want to keep doom-and-glooming VR based on a number of factors, like experience with “false promise” tech from the past, or developer-specific biases, or sticker shock at initial release prices, or just the general scepticism most gamers have with past VR experiments. But there are many signs that this current trend is different and that its impact will be much more material.

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Arktouros

But brah, 3DTVs!!!11

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