VR popular area of investment despite slow consumer growth

13 October 2017

Ericsson recently published its annual ConsumerLab report. In the report, Ericsson reveals a positive outlook on the future of virtual reality (VR) – and specifically its role in video on-demand (VOD) viewing. According to the report, which includes respondents from over 40 countries, the global penetration of VR devices is roughly at 10%, and 25% of respondents plan to get one (some of which already have one, i.e. not only non-holders). In comparison, according to Mediavision’s analysis, during the third quarter of 2017, VR device penetration among Swedish households was at approximately 8%. This corresponds to an increase of +14% since the fourth quarter of 2016.

Among other things, Ericsson’s report points towards the social aspect that VR can bring to video on-demand (VOD) viewing, for instance being in the audience of a VR concert with other VR users. However, for consumer interest to really take off, there are still several obstacles holding VR back, such as headsets being prohibitively expensive and limited content. According to the report, a third of consumers would be more interested in VR if their TV and video provider offered a VR content bundle, something which is yet to be seen. And even though Ericsson is optimistic about the prospects of VR to pick up the pace, not everyone seems to share the analysis. A few days ago, Nokia announced they are to cease production of their VR camera Ozo, only launched last year, parting ways with 310 employees in the process.

As discussed in an earlier blog post, augmented reality (AR) currently seems a likelier market to take off rather than VR. However, some of the issues with VR are being addressed and the market is getting more competitive, despite Nokia handing over the reins to others. With the increased competition, more consumer-friendly VR devices are now popping up. Facebook is launching a stand-alone version of their Oculus headset called Oculus Go at a lower price than its predecessor, and without the need for expensive hardware to run it. Also, Microsoft is launching a range of mixed reality headsets from different PC manufacturers like Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo – increasing competition and opening up for a less expensive VR experience than competitors like Sony, Oculus, and HTC Vive.

For more information contact Sixten Ekström, Communicator at Mediavision.