One of the most talked-about technologies shown at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is virtual reality (VR). Headset devices such as HTC’s VIVE, Oculus’s Rift, Samsung’s Gear VR 2 and Sony’s PlayStation VR drew huge crowds that wanted to try them out. Jason Tsai, wearable device analyst for TrendForce, said that CES and the next month’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) are two important events for VR device developers to showcase their products before their market launch. The media coverage during the CES significantly raised the awareness of the technology and created a positive environment for the growth of the VR industry.
Tsai’s assessment of vendors’ offerings at CES finds that Sony has the lead in the competition. In addition to having spent a considerable time working on PlayStation VR, Sony has a strong advantage in resources needed to develop VR gaming. PlayStation VR moreover is an attractive addition for gamers who already own or are going to buy a PS4 console.
Taking purchasing costs and incentives into consideration, TrendForce expects PlayStation VR to lead in VR device shipments this year. HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift, which require buyers to upgrade their PCs, will follow in second and third places. Shipments of VIVE and Rift will not pick up significantly until 2017, when consumers begin replacing their old PCs with new ones compatible with these headsets.
Tsai also noted that pricing will be the most critical factor affecting each vendor’s shipment performance. Consumers’ willingness to buy VR devices will be determined by the price of the main headset as well as the prices of accessories, including controller sticks and gamepads.