Latest Steam survey reveals sales of VR headsets are grinding to a halt

By midian182 · 36 replies
Sep 6, 2016
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  1. The two current high-end virtual reality headsets – the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive – may be incredible pieces of technology, but it seems most consumers still aren’t convinced that they’re worth spending $600-$800 on. According to the latest Steam survey, sales of the Rift increased by just 0.01 percent in August, while Vive sales remained totally flat.

    As noted by VentureBeat, the previous month’s figures weren’t very promising either; ownership of both headsets increased by only 0.3 percent in July. Right now, 0.18 percent of Steam users own a HTC Vive, while 0.10 percent own an Oculus Rift.

    For the manufacturers, the worrying part of all this that July and August were the first months when both devices weren’t suffering from stock constraints – consumers could finally pick up one of the headsets from a local store or order them online. But few people were rushing out to buy one.

    So, what’s with the weak figures? Really, it’s a combination of things; there still isn’t a “killer app” that makes people desperate to purchase a Rift or Vive. The price continues to be a big issue, especially taking into account the need for a fairly powerful PC. And the sales grinding to a halt is likely due to everyone who intended to buy a headset – the early adopters – now owning one, while other consumers are waiting to see if the prices drop or for that elusive “must-have” game/application to appear.

    Despite the figures, virtual reality still has a bright future. Preorders for the cheaper PlayStation VR ran out in minutes, though it’s unclear exactly how many units retailers had in stock. And Qualcomm’s Snapdragon VR820 wireless reference headset could pave the way for future high-quality, low-cost VR devices. You can read more about both products in our ‘Best of IFA’ list.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,425   +886

    Still pending the 'gotta-have' app.
  3. ghostf1re

    ghostf1re TS Addict Posts: 229   +104

    I just refuse to pay the kind of money they are asking. I understand it's the latest and greatest thing in terms of gaming, but the price is absurd. I don't see myself even considering buying a unit until the prices drop to sub $400 range. There's no telling how many years it'll take for that to happen. I'm perfectly happy waiting on more games and apps to come out and for them to refine the technology a little more before I start to consider one of these.
    Burty117, Blue Falcon, Misagt and 6 others like this.
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,112   +4,175

    Yep. Trying to sell hardware without software is like trying to sail into headwinds. Nobody's going anywhere like that.
    gingerbill likes this.
  5. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Maniac Posts: 349   +160

    I completly agree and I think most cutting edge tech hits the same "wall" at a certain point before a price drop or new/cheaper manufacturing process allows for increased affordability. 1st Gen Bluray players and 4K TV's are another example.
    Trillionsin likes this.
  6. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,051   +1,364

    Elder scrolls VI is probably gonna be VR imo. Todd Howard talking about how the game wont be ready for a long while.

    Regardless, I think VR support for phones would be the greatest way for the tech to take off. I just got a nice generic cardboard headset that I plan on making a game or two for in conjunction with a controller, I don't know why some bigger devs cant play with that.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,220   +4,139

    For me, there is nothing realistic about wearing a box in front of your face.
  8. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 486   +258

    VR as a whole - Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.
  9. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,051   +1,364

    have you ever used vr at all?
    Trillionsin likes this.
  10. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,851   +1,051

    It's going to take a half-dozen must have, full-blown VR ready games (not games that masquerade as demos) before they can expect any increase in sales.

    I'm not paying a nickle for something that at this stage is just a 10 minute "look at this cool demo" accessory.
    Blue Falcon and Trillionsin like this.
  11. andrewyoung

    andrewyoung TS Enthusiast Posts: 49   +15

    yup!!....same here.
  12. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,203   +741

    I'm more opposed to having these things strapped to my face and having to deal with stupid remotes and wires.
    andrewyoung and daThomas like this.
  13. risc32

    risc32 TS Addict Posts: 209   +96

    We've sold nearly twice as many units as our competition! - says HTC sales guy.

    everyone else, including me says not anytime soon.
  14. Panda218

    Panda218 TS Evangelist Posts: 521   +245

    I've had my Vive since early June and I'm still in love with it. I'll agree that its not for everyone due to its limited library of titles at this time, but its headed in the right direction it just needs AAA software and a lower price. Until then I'll continue to learn to work with Unity and hope that my "game" becomes something I'm willing to show others ^^
    Puiu likes this.
  15. mantissteam

    mantissteam TS Member Posts: 54   +21

    Ill only buy when they are 300-400 $ max and are generation 2 and above
  16. DJMIKE25

    DJMIKE25 TS Addict Posts: 178   +69

    I agree. While I bought my 1070 planning on VR at some point, that point just hasn't gotten here yet. It doesn't feel like something I really "want" yet.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,220   +4,139

    That gotta have app will come when VR capable cards are less than $200.
  18. Scorpionking20

    Scorpionking20 TS Booster Posts: 61   +29

    How old are you? its a popular line from the classiest chaos theorist ever...typed on steam controller.
    DJMIKE25 likes this.
  19. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,150   +287

    Hell I'm still trying to decide on buying 3d vision glasses :)
    Capaill and RedGuard like this.
  20. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,687   +302

    I havent read much of this article, but what I can only assume is that rest of us are waiting for prices to drop. I know that I really want one. I dont want one so bad that I'm willing to pay a premium just because it's new.
  21. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 456   +795

    Not really surprising. The surge of pre-orders was simply a very small number of enthusiasts jumping in on the "10-20min tech demo to show off to your friends" thing. Once that backlog of orders was cleared, it was pretty obvious $800 "mainstream" isn't happening (for the same reason the average consumer doesn't buy $800 monitors to plug into SLI'd Titan's).

    I tested a friend's out and while it "technically" worked, it's something I couldn't use for more than 30mins at a time. Compare that to the up to 14hrs I can easily sit in front of my flicker-free 27" IPS with comfy Sennheiser's. Even if they sort out the motion sickness / Vergence-Accommodation Conflict / nausea / spectacle wearer pressure / unit slips if you move too much etc, issues, other discomfort issues remain due to the nature of the technology. ie, if you stick something over your eyes that creates a "seal" that blocks out light, over time it's also going to trap a layer of warm air inside causing hot / dry / tired eyes. A LOT of people are complaining about this without any real resolution, and even the Techspot VR reviewer Kirk wrote "It gets warmer over time, as well, and after playing for an hour or so I’m acutely aware of the fact that I have a heat-radiating piece of electronic gear strapped to my face."

    VR ergonomics are nowhere near as natural or relaxed as simply flopping out in front of a 2D TV / monitor, and I doubt they ever will be due to the nature of sticking a heat-radiating, light-tight, heat-trap over your eyeballs...
    Blue Falcon, Capaill and emmzo like this.
  22. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 584   +72

    For me atleast its because they have hiked the price in the UK blaming it on brexit. NO you have seen a way that your greed can make even more bottom line profits even though the £ is still stronger than the Entire US and the rest of the EU. Brexit has not made the prices rise at all, when we return to the same level we was 6 months ago will you then reduce the price ... I think not!
  23. emmzo

    emmzo TS Booster Posts: 149   +38

    This and btw do we even know the long term effects on the eyes?
  24. alabama man

    alabama man Banned Posts: 474   +297

    Not going to buy until they get better displays and optics. Next gen VR will be much better if they focus on improving quality over lowering price. Good displays and mediocre tv's cost more so nothing wrong with the price. Also eye tracking and other advances after vive's launch make me wan't to wait for vive 2. Not going to spend 800 on something that's going to be obsolete in 1-2 years.
    IAMTHESTIG likes this.
  25. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,936   +1,351

    Next year we'll definitely have the apps, but the price still is a big issue.
  26. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 584   +72

    Maybe one day when they are close in size to a pair of 3D specs? On a side note I have a DK2 and never noticed any heat issues.

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