The Oculus Rift launched on March 28th at a $599 price point while HTC’s Vive launched on April 5th for $799, followed by Sony’s PlayStation VR headset debut on October 13th for $399. The sources note that pricing has been the primary barrier preventing HTC from increasing shipments, while Vive sales are likely to account for 12 percent of the company’s total revenues this year.
Based on the latest report, HTC Vive shipments to retail outlets are expected to be around 450,000 units, while Facebook-owned Oculus is expected to ship 650,000 units. Sony’s headset is expected to top the market this year with a total of 1.5 million shipments to retail.
According to a different October estimate from SuperData, however, sales of Google’s Daydream View headset are expected to reach just over 450,000 before the end of the year, followed by the HTC Vive at just over 420,000 units, while Oculus Rift sales are expected to reach just over 355,000 units. Here, there is a much more liberal estimate for PlayStation VR shipments at 2.6 million units before the end of the year.
Oculus Rift, HTC Vive sales may depend on PC upgrade routines
Some have argued that the Oculus Rift’s launch has also been impeded by its high $599 price tag, including the minimum requirement of a mid-range PC (~$500) with at least a Geforce GTX 960 and an Intel Core i3 6190 or AMD FX 4350 CPU. However, the HTC Vive increases the minimum requirement to at least an upper mid-range PC (~$625) with at least a Geforce GTX 970 / Radeon R9 290 and an Intel Core i5 4590 or AMD FX 8350 CPU. Meanwhile, both PC-based headsets currently enjoy similar name recognition when it comes to Google searches. So while the Rift sells for $200 less than the Vive but the system requirements vary, the end shipments results for this year could be more dependent on PC upgrade routines as users purchase more capable hardware.
For now, Sony is expected to be the virtual reality headset winner in 2016 and 2017 as it has already managed to ship over 45 million PlayStation 4 consoles worldwide. The company is following up with PlayStation 4 Pro, which launched on November 10th and managed to sell over 65,194 units in Japan in the first week. PlayStation developers have been recently adding VR capabilities to new titles in an effort to attract more consumers to try out the platform. Moreover, the $399 headset price combined with the $249 to $399 console price makes it the cheapest premium VR experience currently on the market.