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Was 2016 VR’s Glowing Debut or Disappointing Start?

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2016 has officially marked the release of the three major virtual reality headsets that will fiercely compete for the majority market share. With Oculus Rift kicking off the VR party back at the end of March, only to be followed a week or two later by the HTC Vive, if you wanted to check out the potential future of gaming then you had to have a pretty powerful PC. That all changed, however, in October with the release of Sony’s PlayStation VR. 


Now that all three of the headsets are out and we approach the end of the year, it’s time to measure up the successes and failures of the VR platform and establish just how good 2016 has been for them. 

In terms of getting your hands on one of these headsets, each one has suffered from pretty severe supply constraints in their opening months. Unfortunately, sales figures for the headsets haven’t been quite as readily available as some would have hoped. But judging by the figures suggested by Steam sales back in July, there are still plenty of sales to be made.

According to the aforementioned Steam sale data, the Vive was nearing an install base of around 100,000 back in July, with the Oculus Rift trailing behind this. Though this is slightly dated, later reports in September suggested that each headset’s sales stalled pretty heavily in July and August. Considering the hefty PC requirements you’ll need to have in order to run a VR headset, it’s no surprise that neither the Rift or the Vive have become mainstream units. Especially when combined with the price of the units themselves.

All eyes turned to Sony and its release of PlayStation VR in October. Again, sales figures haven’t been clear, but from what we can ascertain, the PSVR has been the roaring success in terms of sales, suggesting a cheaper headset that simply plugs into your existing PS4 and plays is more amicable to consumers than its PC counterparts. With Sony initially projecting PSVR sales to be in the hundreds of thousands at launch, and Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s CFO stating sales were “on track,” it’s highly likely that the PSVR has outsold combined sales of its two competitors.

All in all, the three VR platforms have made some light headway in their launch periods but seem to have truly failed to capture the market. That doesn’t mean it’s all bad for VR, though.

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