With the debut of several of the latest tech sector virtual reality devices such as the Oculus Rift of which tech company Facebook (traded under tech stock symbol FB), HTC Vive and PlayStation VR being released in 2016, market researchers Newzoo have looked into potential demand for the higher priced tech devices. Newzoo’s online survey took into account nearly 35,000 people. It found that 11% of consumers aged 10-65 across 12 western countries will most likely be ready to buy a VR device in the near future. Spain, Italy and the US showed the greatest interest to buy a device.
“At Newzoo, we have been relatively silent when it comes to VR. This has to do with our expectation that the lion’s share of VR revenues will be generated by hardware sales, spectator content, and live viewing formats,” said Peter Warman, CEO Newzoo, in a press release.
“Game software revenues from VR will remain marginal for the near future and be absorbed into current PC, TV/console and mobile game revenues.” Newzoo’s research also found a significant correlation between those intending to buy a VR device and fans of video game competitions – or e-sports.
Nearly 50% of U.S. consumers who are looking to get VR are ones that play e-sports and a furthermore 18% occasionally viewed e-sports. “Considering such a clear link between e-sports and interest in VR, it’s surprising to see so few of the manufacturers investing in the space,” the report said.
“This is even more surprising when you consider that these fans are tech savvy and willing to spend on memorable experiences.” The research also showed that, while only 7% of consumers in Canada were showing interest in buying VR, they were ready to spend the most on the tech, with 28% of this group spending more than $600 on hardware in the past 12 months. In comparison, only 14% of Spanish consumers spent that much on gaming hardware.
Most of the VR devices are planned to come out later in the year. The PlayStation VR will be released in October costing $399, while the Oculus Rift will have a price-tag of $599 and the HTC Vive will be $799. However, there is a lot of debate amongst analysts about how widely the devices will be adopted by consumers.
“It’s difficult to predict the real adoption rate of VR games and the value of the market,” Andrew Kitson, senior telecommunications analyst at BMI Research, told CNBC via email.
“BMI do not forecast sales of individual games platforms, but we do anticipate VR being one of several key drivers of sales over the next three to four years.”