2016 has been a big year for virtual-reality hardware launches, but some analysts think it’s also been a year for underwhelming sales of those VR headsets. Edison Investment Research has issued a report claiming that the market has seen “HTC’s Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR all undershoot expectations with no immediate improvement on the horizon”. Edison went on to point to claims that Sony’s PlayStation VR would ship 2.6m units in 2016 – “it now looks set to ship just 750,000” – as well as claiming that Google’s Daydream View will ship 250,000 rather than the predicted 450,000. “VR is clearly not ready for the prime time and there remains a lot of work to do before volumes will really take off,” wrote analyst Richard Windsor. “We do not see this happening in 2017 meaning that the outlook for next year remains pretty grim.” You might argue that the problem here is as much about inflated predictions in the first place, not just disappointing sales. Meanwhile VR evangelists will argue that this is a much longer game than 2016/17. Perhaps the best way to think about VR next year is less in terms of sales, and more in terms of creative experimentation to figure out the language of the medium – including how music fits in to it – ahead of the hoped-for future hardware sales acceleration.

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