Sony Interactive Entertainment appears to be doing just fine when it comes to virtual reality. The company has accounted for half of all VR headsets sold in the third quarter of 2017; leaving pioneers like Oculus and HTC scrapping to keep up.
Market analytics firm Canalys noted that the VR headset market has sold more than one million units in a quarter for the first time ever. Sony accounted for 49% of those sales, with Oculus being the nearest competition at 21%. HTC contributed some 16% of the total market during this time.
Sony’s strong position seems to come from the lower price point of its PS VR set; despite it being sold in bundles or requiring additional purchases. This budget friendly starting position seems to have spurred Oculus to cut prices to match the competition. A move that seems to have worked out as it outsold the rival HTC Vive.
That said, the market numbers don’t account for “simple viewers” like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream. Which may have skewed the numbers in Sony’s favour this time around. However, the impact of less capable VR viewers is difficult to guess; considering that neither Samsung nor Google reveal sales numbers for the headsets.
The VR headset market is set to become more competitive from next year. Microsoft is pushing its budget AR concept, and has partnered with multiple OEMs to introduce cheaper VR headsets into the market. It’s difficult to say how much impact this will have at this time.
Sony, for the most part, may be secure in its position. Largely because it doesn’t share the same platform as the other VR headsets. All it really needs now is a hit game that sells the full potential of virtual reality.