VR sales forecasts “have no basis”

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The VR hardware industry is used to “jam tomorrow” predictions, and forecasts of sales worth multiple billions by 2020 and beyond. The problem is that there’s little by way of reliable substance to current sales – a problem which has been examined by Display Daily, in a piece by Norbert Hildebrand.

Hildebrand quotes recent research from companies such as Orbis Research (forecasts a VR market worth $2.67 billion for 2017 and a 60 per cent CAGR); Statista (VR market worth $13 billion by 2020); Zion Research (VR market size of $26.9 billion by 2022 and a CAGR of 54 per cent).

The common thread, despite the forecast differences is that VR will be a major industry sector with the next 5 years.

The issue, says Hildebrand, is that the forecasts have no basis. Despite some researchers having agreements “to aggregate data from the manufacturers into an overview report that is relatively close to the truth. This does not exist in the VR industry at this point in time, he says.

He quotes Ars Technica, which has analysed data from users to Steam’s portfolio of games, and then – at the opposite end of the market (the SexLikeReal adult service) – which translated the same Steam data into dollar revenues based on the number of gamers using a particular game (or service).

The numbers are miserable. Alex Novak of SexLikeReal suggests that Steam-based VR gaming and video revenues for 2017 was about $50 million, or about $18 million for the VR/adult segment. He continues that in 2018 so far, the revenue derived from VR videos is $18 million.

That’s not a market, but a niche. Hildebrand admits that all this is largely guesswork, but that the revenue totals are low. He bstates: “I understand that the professional VR market is excluded from this point of view, but I was also under the impression that the professional market is somewhat limited in size. If the ‘several billion dollar VR market size’ estimate from the market researchers is correct, than the professional market has to be in the billion dollar range, as the consumer markets aren’t contributing much.”

And he concludes, saying that the VR industry has some tough questions to answer and a strong need for reliable and transparent data sets.


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