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Forecast: PlayStation VR Sales Downgraded for 2016

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SuperData slashes PSVR sales estimate to 750k worldwide.

Black Friday online shopping saw another record-breaking sales day. According to Adobe, Thanksgiving and Black Friday online retail sales exceeded $5 billion, with mobile devices setting a massive new record, contributing $1.2 billion to that total on Black Friday alone.

But as the dust settles from the chaos of Thanksgiving weekend shopping, one retail analyst isn’t painting such a rosy picture for virtual reality sales during the holiday weekend.

According to SuperData Research’s latest forecast shared with VRScout, VR headset sales did not see a large boost from Black Friday and Cyber Monday despite a number of holiday deals. “Most early adopters have bought in already,” Stephanie Llamas, Director of Research and Insights for SuperData commented. “A minority of those considering it may purchase one for themselves but, at least in terms of PC sets, they will not likely receive it as a gift.”

So who was the “biggest loser” according to SuperData Research’s revised forecast?

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According to the retail analyst, PlayStation VR will sell roughly 745k PlayStation VR units in 2016 (their previous estimate was 2.6 million), which Llamas says is due to Sony taking a more prudent approach in holding back marketing spend until the company can better position the PSVR with their upgraded Pro console system. “Sony is making just enough units available to prove the case for VR, without seeking to fully saturate the market and, instead, build the offering more gradually to ensure a stronger life-cycle,” stated Llamas. “They have also pointed out that VR looks even better on a Pro than a standard or slim PS 4, so the message to most gamers is: Get the Pro now, then the PSVR later.”

For the most part, Sony’s slow approach to marketing the PlayStation VR has not been lost on consumers. During Black Friday, we saw a number of deals for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. But what was notably absent were deals for the PlayStation VR — Sony was instead pushing the PlayStation 4 Pro during the shopping weekend. Previous estimates for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Gear VR remain unchanged at 450k, 355k and 2.3 million, respectively in SuperData’s latest revised forecast.

“Without the ‘killer app’ and the slow, steady release of AAA content, [Sony] will release less than 1M devices until they have content they feel confident will bring in the praise they want,” stated Llamas. “They can afford to take it slow since they have no competition for now, so their supply and sales will rise steadily into 2017 as opposed to riding the seasonal wave.”

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When it comes to the Rift, the Touch controllers are a key opportunity for Oculus to further grow their market share. But Oculus’ delayed hardware release of the Touch controllers may have slowed them down and split their user base, where “developers are having to make some choices around whether they should develop for both touch and non-touch users,” said Llamas. “This means development has slowed and is becoming another barrier to growth.”

As the Holiday gifting season draws near, mobile VR headsets like the Gear VR or Google Daydream View probably have the best chance in the market to make their way under the tree. But even SuperData’s revised forecast for the Daydream has Google selling just 261k units, down from the previous forecast of 450k, due in part to only the Pixel phone supporting Daydream until next year.

So what do you think of the revised sales forecast for PlayStation VR? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit: VRScout

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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