New data from Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) shows that 2% of U.S. broadband households, or 2.3 million households, own a virtual reality headset. The research firm’s survey of 10,000 U.S. broadband households reveals 5% of U.S. broadband households plan to buy a VR headset in 2016, an increase from only 1% who made a purchase the year prior.
“The big change in VR for 2016 has been the availability or pending availability of VR headsets from companies such as Facebook (Oculus Rift), Google (Google Cardboard), and HTC (Vive). Sony PlayStation VR is expected to be released in October. We expect gamers to be the initial market for VR,” said Barbara Kraus, Director of Research, Parks Associates. “VR is an immersive experience, and more is better for gamers – more immersion, better sound, better graphics, and more players. The mass market is more likely to adopt mobile VR, which will be less expensive and uses a tool – the smartphone – that the majority of U.S. consumers own.”
As more households adopt these devices, and they become part of the consumer-based IoT [Internet of Things], they will emerge as a new way to experience content streams coming into the home and a new interface for other connected devices throughout the home. Parks Associates recommends that CE companies that are developing VR headsets provide simple methods to add (and remove) multiple content streams while giving the user the tools to personalize their experience with this device. For the consumer, the division between device and content is already blurred, and innovations in virtual and augmented reality could finally erase the distinction.
“The CE industry is moving from one defined by hardware to a business of virtualized products, OTT content, and new advertising models, which could be integrated into a VR interface for users to control and interact with their homes,” Kraus said.