SuperData says VR has ‘nowhere to go but up,’ while HTC VR division sees layoffs and Facebook apologizes for VR shooter demo

SuperData continues to express confidence in the future of virtual reality – however you want to label it. Last week, the analytics firm updated its paid paper on its expectations for the industry, saying it has “nowhere to go but up.”

“Driven by augmented reality and mixed reality and successful titles, the XR market will reach a combined $7.6B in 2018 across hardware and software,” the firm argues. Revenue from VR software in 2017 was just over half a billion dollars – 55% of which was from games, with Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchisea earning the most. And that other 45%? “Developers are focusing most on fields like design, retail, and manufacturing despite an overwhelming demand for education and healthcare solutions,” says the firm, pointing out that the big VR money isn’t in making people smarter or healthier.

Readers will recall that SuperData called VR the “biggest loser” of the holiday gaming sales at the end of 2016; that was followed by a NYT piece calling for “a reality check for virtual reality” just a year ago. Nevertheless, as of April 2017, SuperData was predicting a “steep rise” in VR adoption and $40B in revenue by 2020. The current report, however, suggests a combined consumer revenue for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality of just under $40B by 2021.

All of that will be no help to the “large portion” – perhaps as many as 100 – of HTC’s employees who were laid off last week as the company merges its smartphone and VR divisions.

And in other VR news, Facebook was called out on its tone-deaf decision to show VR shooter Bullet Train at right-wing convention CPAC following the horrific Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which has dominated national headlines this month and spurred politicians to (predictably) blame video games for gun violence. “In light of the recent events in Florida and out of respect for the victims and their families, we have removed them from this demo,” a Facebook rep said. “We regret that we failed to do so in the first place.”

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50 Comments on "SuperData says VR has ‘nowhere to go but up,’ while HTC VR division sees layoffs and Facebook apologizes for VR shooter demo"

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Schlag Sweetleaf


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Robert Mann

Yeah, as noted before… the headsets need at a minimum 5 years of refinement and miniaturizations. Once we get there, the price has to be right, and the content must be available. THEN VR can be a thing that is mainstream, but until all that is done it is fringe.

Bryan Correll

My house fell over, so I guess it has nowhere to go but up.

Alex Malone

SuperData make me laugh. Their data collection is OK, but their analyses are a joke!

People really shouldn’t take their analyses seriously. They flip-flop all over the place when it comes to VR and the industry has missed every single prediction that SuperData have made.

Bruno Brito

“Nowhere to go but up” is like an euphemism for “turd smells goes up in air”.

Doctor Sweers

Such a great show! Gimme a Community movie!

Danny Smith

Got nowhere to go but up when your games are the rock bottom shovelware.

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Sally Bowls


1) The talk/focus is about xR (VR, AR, MR) much more so than VR.

2) IMO, FB did not spend $3B for gaming. Zuck has talked about a dollar ap on your VR/AR glasses replacing televisions. Those of us here are pretty irrelevant, percentagewise at least, to modern gaming companies. We are even more niche in the wider world outside gaming. The goal of VR is better advertising on better Facebook walls/timelines, not appeasing the its-too-easy-to-level gamers.

Loyal Patron

It wouldn’t be the first time a multi-billion dollar purchase was a complete failure. Right now Zuck’s buyout is a bust. It can change but I’d say the odds are stacking against it. This past Christmas did nothing for the sector.

Sally Bowls

Yeah, on an even-money bet, I would also bet fail.

But I just see this Christmas as far less indicative than you. MZ talked about this being smart phones of a decade ago and VR going to take 10-15 years. So I am sure that Christmas ’18 will be “disappointing” as well. Almost certainly ’19, probably ’20. A huge if is whether all the players’ actions match their rhetoric. But if they keep on coming, I am not sure that a bad ’17 for VR means a bad ’27 for xR. A Microsoft exec talked about their xR glasses obsoleting the smartphone. Regardless of what the future will bring, a lot of huge companies currently feel this is about hundreds of billions of dollars. I can’t see how some games sold in ’17 will change the investments much.

Besides, there is my MOP theory of investing: when considering business/finance if the sitegeist here is really against it – e.g. F2P, mobile, eSports, streaming, Asian imports, lockboxes, WoW, OW, … then it may be a reasonable bet.

Loyal Patron

I see those statements as putting the cart before the horse personally. I know the guys you are mentioning are huge brains and much smarter and more in touch than me but at the same time as a former MS employee I know they claim “this is how it shall be” and everything they predict is the exact opposite of what they predict. MS is in absolute limbo right now sans their OS. I don’t really accept their predictions on any consumer futures.

I get the who B2B aspect of VR. The consumer side that has nothing to do with gaming – but it isn’t being adopted into any of those things. Just businessmen saying what consumers will do when none of them are doing that. I think they are all throwing billions at a dud.

A Dad Supreme

I don’t think they will ever conquer the dizziness/nausea a lot of people get.

The problem I believe is that while you are wearing the VR set, you are usually sitting down in a chair. When the character in the game is moving, jumping, spinning, etc your mind perceives that easily but your body doesn’t; it’s still sitting. What happens is there is this fight in your head and body that never sync properly.

If you think about real life physics, when you are in a fighter plane doing a roll, your mind says “Hey body, here comes a roll” and your body feels it as the roll comes. When you’re in VR, your mind still says that but your body says “I don’t feel anything”.

I think that wirecrossing is something you can’t fix with tech even though people have tried at least for another couple hundred of years.


It’s a bit weirder than that. Most cases you are not sitting but standing. But then “you” start “moving” but you’re not actually moving and it can seem unnatural. However what’s weird is different locomotion methods affect people differently.

Take for example myself and Serious Sam. Serious Sam was awesome in that it offered a number of solutions for locomotion. The “touch pad” locomotion, where you hold a direction and start running that way was very challenging because of the speed in which I was moving. It felt unnatural that I was suddenly as fast as a car. However going the same speed with “tap” locomotion, where you press a direction and you do a short hop that way I had no issue even with the same speed. Something about the little “hop” didn’t affect me. Then of course there’s “teleport” which seems to not really affect anyone for the most part. There’s also “Swing arm” locomotion where you gotta swing your arms to move ala GORN.

I think they’ll probably crack it. The real issue that VR faces is people basically see it as an extension of the PC rather than a new medium. So people are expecting 2018 Games that took 20 years of evolution to develop when really we’re like back at late 1990’s kinda thing and no one even knows if it’s going to turn into if anything at all.

Rolan Storm

5 years ago: VR! VR – at last!
Today: What those losers babbling about again?