The market for virtual reality headsets in a bad patch

Like other electronic devices, such as smartphones where the computersthe year 2022 has been complicated for the helmets of virtual reality. The device remains a niche product, which struggles to impose itself on the general public for various reasons.

2021 overshadows 2022

The number of virtual reality (VR) headsets, or other augmented reality device, shipped in 2022, is 9.6 millionaccording to figures from CCS Insight. Down 12% compared to 2021. CNBCbased on a study by another firm, NPD Group, notes that in the United States sales of virtual reality devices brought in $1.1 billion from December 2021 to December 2022, down 2 %.

These figures should be put into perspective with those, excellent, of 2021. In 2020, sales of virtual reality headsets represented $530 million, so they doubled in the space of a year. The devices were able to benefit from the difficulties for customers to obtain consoles, Xbox or PlayStation and from various promotions.

The success then waned this year. Meta’s helmet, the Quest 2, has seen its sales drop sharply as it crushes the market. Its competitors Valve, HP or Sony represent a tiny minority of sales. Released in 2020, the Quest 2 no longer benefits from the novelty effect. Its price, justified by inflation by Meta, also increased by 100 dollars, while the gloomy economic situation prompted consumers to be more cautious in their purchases.

Virtual reality headset prospects are still uncertain

Apart from these circumstantial explanations, virtual reality headsets are struggling to gain acceptance with the general public. Very marked video games, there is not yet an essential title that could encourage their purchase. Beat Saber, which is enjoying some success, is no match for the monsters of the culture industry such as Call of Duty, Fifa, GTA and others.

Attempts to take virtual reality headsets out of the gaming world have so far failed. The social network prefiguring the metaverse dreamed up by Mark Zuckerberg, HorizonWorld, is hardly convincing.

Meta has decided to bet on the professional world, Ikea or Accenture, for example, have purchased devices for their employees, with its new headset, the Meta Quest Pro, at $1,500. A path that does not seem to open a door to a wider adoption of virtual reality.

According to CCS Insight prognosis, the year 2023 will be another complicated year for VR headsets. The dreaded economic difficulties explain it for the most part. 11.4 million virtual or augmented reality headsets could be sold. But the firm estimates that a take-off in the equipment rate is possible by 2025 or 2026.

virtual reality headset curves

Credit: CCS Insight

The firm bets in particular on the arrival of new products. Sony is due to release its next headset in February for $550, enough to appeal to PlayStation 5 owners and extend the video game potential of virtual reality. Apple is also, and perhaps above all, seen as a development factor.

Its virtual reality headset with augmented reality possibilities has been awaited for a few years. It could be released in 2023. Fans of the Apple brand and its know-how both for consumer technologies and for creating an attractive ecosystem could breathe new life into what Mark Zuckerberg imagine like the future of the smartphone.

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The market for virtual reality headsets in a bad patch

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