VR headset adoption rates this year have been sluggish. According to a Steam survey, HTC Vive users increased merely 0.3 percent in July and growth was flat in August. Oculus Rift users also grew only 0.3 percent in July and a measly 0.1 percent in August.
Today, about 0.18 percent of Steam players own the Vive while 0.10 percent have the Oculus Rift. But that could dramatically change in 2017, says a new report from Nielsen.
Nielsen surveyed 8,000 consumers and found nearly one-fourth — 24 percent — wanted to either use or purchase a VR headset next year. And 20 percent voiced newfound interest in VR after learning a bit more about the technology, but still said they didn’t plan to buy one.
Another 36 percent of respondents were “fans” of VR while 27 percent said they were knowledgeable about the tech.
“Like many new technologies, it seems that VR has more fans than experts,” the Nielsen report says.
There are more bright VR forecasts to look forward to. According to IDC, the market will be worth $162 billion by 2020. Grand View Research also reports augmented reality alone will be a $100 billion industry in 2024.
But there are challenges getting to that flush market, namely content. A study by law firm Perkins Coie found 37 percent of consumers were hesitant to adopt VR and AR technologies because of “inadequate content offerings.”
“The focus on content shortcomings could signal that respondents believe other hurdles, including technological limitations and cost, can be overcome,” the report says, “but the availability of high-quality and robust content is a larger obstacle.”
Cost is also a big problem. The Oculus Rift retails for $600 while the HTC Vive sells for $800 — and they require expensive $1,000 PCs or $1,500 laptops to run. VR headset makers face a difficult test of wooing budget-conscious consumers.