Get set for a ride down into the trough of disillusionment, as research firm Gartner puts it. Augmented and virtual reality headset shipments have fallen by 30.5% year-on-year. At least, this is according to one of that company’s rivals, IDC, which estimates that just 1.2m VR and AR headsets shipped in the first quarter of this year.
“Much of the decline occurred due to the unbundling of screenless VR headsets during the quarter. For much of 2017, vendors bundled these headsets free with the purchase of a high-end smartphone, but that practice largely came to an end by the start of 2018,” claimed the company.
That’s not good news, but IDC is predicting that the overall market – remember this is AR and VR headsets combined – will be 8.9m unit shipments in 2018, up 6% year-on-year. Although given the still-early stage of this wave of the AR/VR market, single-digit growth isn’t super-impressive.
“On the VR front, devices such as the Oculus Go seem promising not because Facebook has solved all the issues surrounding VR, but rather because they are helping to set customer expectations for VR headsets in the future,” said analyst Jitesh Ubrani. “Looking ahead, consumers can expect easier-to-use devices at lower price points.”