Virtual reality headsets are one of the hot topics of 2016. From Facebook's Oculus Rift to the Nvidia VR Works suite, almost every company has been dying to throw their hat into the VR ring. Even Hideo Kojima has entered the realm of VR technology. But a new study suggests that VR hardware sales may be on the decline among PC users.
Valve's official Steam Hardware & Software Survey for August 2016 revealed that only 0.18% of all surveyed users owned an HTC Vive, with 0.10% using the Oculus Rift. In particular, the Rift saw a sharp decline since its original release in March 2016, with only a 0.01% increase each for the Oculus Rift and Oculus Rift Development Kit 2. The HTC Vive, meanwhile, faced a 0% increase last month, despite its steady hold among Steam virtual reality users.
What accounts for the decrease in VR growth? For one, virtual reality headsets are expensive. The HTC Vive goes for $799 on the Steam store. And that price doesn't even factor in the processing capabilities necessary to build a "VR Ready" machine, which can balloon VR expenses well into the quadruple digits. With a high price tag on VR hardware, it makes sense that the first generation of VR headsets are already starting to decline. The early adopters have already settled in.
Granted, autumn is traditionally a popular time to build new computers, thanks to the discounts that many computer parts experience as new graphics cards and processors are unveiled. The Oculus Rift also plans to hit European and Canadian shelves this month, with Best Buy and the Microsoft Store selling the headset to interested buyers. Its release comes with a wide variety of VR games, including the 30 launch titles that originally came out with the Rift back in late March.
With a new market on the horizon, could the European and Canadian release rejuvenate sales? Perhaps, but a spike seems likely at best. The gaming world may end up having to wait for the next generation of VR headsets for virtual reality to truly take off.