Worldwide virtual reality hardware shipments are set to “skyrocket” this year, the International Data Corporation (IDC) states, with key products from Samsung, Sony, HTC and Oculus leading the way.The IDC expects total volumes to reach 9.6 million units, with the category generating hardware revenues of approximately US$2.3 billion.
Augmented reality hardware, meanwhile, is forecast for growth over the next few years, with combined device markets shipments to surge past 110 million units in 2020, according to the IDC’s first worldwide AR/VR forecast.
The IDC has identified three major AR/VR device categories: screenless viewers that use smarthphone screens; tethered head-mounted displays (HMDs), utilising an existing compute device; and standalone HMDs, integrating processing within the head-worn display itself.
The IDC has advised that it is specifically not forecasting Google Cardboard-based products, nor any other viewer accessory that lacks electronics.
“In 2016, the first major VR tethered HMDs from Oculus, HTC and Sony should drive combined shipments of over 2 million units,” Tom Mainelli, IDC vice president for devices & displays, commented.
“When you combine this with robust shipments of screenless viewers from Samsung and other vendors launching later this year, you start to see the beginning of a reasonable installed base for content creators to target.”
Lewis Ward, IDC research director of gaming, noted that “video games will clearly be the lead rationale” in purchasing an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR this year.
“While there have been some launch window hardware shipment hiccups that must be addressed near-term, I’m confident that they will be ironed out before the holiday season,” Ward commented.
“The addition of exciting new titles will lead to a new wave of VR HMD hardware interest among those buying for themselves or family members and friends.”
The IDC has forecast that VR hardware shipments will grow to 64.8 million units in 2020, with AR hardware shipments to grow from 0.4 million units this year to 45.6 million units in 2020.