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VR has ‘clear potential’ after slow start

Smartphone VR headset sales to increase fivefold between 2017 and 2021

CCS Insight has released its latest global forecast for VR devices, with smartphone VR headset sales predicted to increase fivefold between 2017 and 2021.

The research predicts that smartphone VR will be worth $500 million in 2017, rising to approximately $1.4 billion by 2021.

According to CCS, dedicated VR headsets such as the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR deliver significantly higher-quality experiences compared with their smartphone VR cousins, but sales have been shy of expectations. By 2021, CCS expects sales of dedicated VR headsets to grow to 22 million units — an 800 per cent increase over 2017. This will result in the dedicated VR market being worth $7.7 billion by 2021.

Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, said: “Headsets designed for smartphones are the entry point for most consumers when it comes to VR.

“Google’s Cardboard devices and Samsung’s Gear VR headsets have been the early market makers in this area. We expect the momentum to continue at Mobile World Congress next week, with Google’s Daydream headsets being a prominent part of many high-end smartphone launches”.

“There’s no doubt that dedicated VR headsets can be a tough sell. The complete package of the headset and a high-end PC is out of reach for most consumers and even the PlayStation VR, which can be used with the PS4 games console, has failed to meet expectations. There’s a lot of work to be done on all aspects of the experience, but we still believe there’s tremendous potential”.