After launching in November of 2015, Samsung’s North American president Tim Baxter announced that they have managed to move 5 million Gear VR headsets, as reported by UploadVR.
The milestone comes during the week of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, where many top name VR companies and manufacturers are showcasing their latest and greatest to potential consumer markets. Granted, this year is a lot more subdued than last year, where in 2016 there was much ratting and raving about the prospects of virtual reality.
As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, the Gear VR had only managed to move 1 million units between November, 2015 and May, 2016. Showing a slow uptick in sales. However, from May to December, there was some decent uptake from the consumer market for the mobile-based VR headset, where 4 million SKUs were moved.
GamesIndustry.biz also makes the note that Samsung has been coy about actual usage of the VR headset, and we don’t know exactly how much time Gear VR users are actually putting into games as opposed to other recreational pastimes.
UploadVR suspects that Samsung’s 5 million figure comes from a last ditch bundling effort during the holiday season, where the Gear VR was likely sold with the latest Samsung smartphone or tablet to help push sales through the barrier during the Christmas shopping rush. We also know that the report indicates that Homido revealed to UploadVR that they managed to move 500,000 SKUs of their VR headset.
GamesIndustry.biz reports that HTC managed to move 140,000 Vive units throughout 2016 for PC, and Sony mentioned that they moved hundreds of thousands of PlayStation VR units. Oculus did not reveal how many Rift units were moved in 2016, likely due to the figure being lower than expected.
The high price of entry and the low-tier software offerings are the likely culprit for the low sales of the higher-end VR headsets. Right now there just aren’t any killer VR apps to separate an $800 unit like the HTC Vive from the $99 Gear VR.
Until there’s a really engrossing, worthwhile title made for the higher end VR headsets, it’s likely that their sales will stay wedged in the thicket of stagnation.
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