In 2016 the push to make VR popular in gaming was immense! Cheaper options like Google cardboard and Samsung Gear headsets were marketed heavily throughout the year. VR was the biggest, baddest kid on the block. Google reports they have shipped over 5 million of their cardboards since its release. Similarly, Samsung has sold over 5 million Gear VR headsets in 2016 alone. More expensive options like Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR have also seen major profits with PlayStation VR selling over 915,000 headsets since October.
Obviously the cash cow that is VR has done very well. However… here’s where I start my case for VR being purely a fad. According to HyperGridBusiness 98% of VR sales are for phones. You may ask, what does this mean? Well people are buying VR headsets for a more lackluster experience (phone VR). I as well fall into this category. People see that phone VR headsets are not that expensive, fall victim to marketing, and decide they need to see what the hype is about.
Remember being a kid? Getting a new toy was the best thing ever. When I was a youngster myself Teck Decks (mini skateboards) were the cat’s pajamas. Me and my friends would play with them all day. We loved them. Eventually however Nerf Guns became popular, then something else, etc…etc… I never thought Teck Decks would stop being cool but I moved on. Similarly to many people’s parents and disco music. Now you may wonder why I’m telling you this, I tell you this because no matter how amazing a form of entertainment seems, it always gets old at some point.
I see phone VR sales and popularity dropping off dramatically in 2017 for many reasons. The lack of quality games available is a huge factor, of course there are a few gems, but over all from personal experience there are few games that can keep you hooked more than a few minutes. The fact that many people who would buy a VR headset have already and don’t need another one contributes as well as the brutal honest fact that phone VR is fun, but in no way able to thrive in an ever expanding market.
Everything considered, the answer to the question isn’t so black and white. There are many factors. I don’t see phone VR doing much in the future, but I do see true VR experiences like Oculus and PS VR thriving and growing as technology grows.
Jeremy LeLaCheur is an Associate Writer at MONG who is sometimes a little to sarcastic and charismatic for his own good.