Study: High-End VR Activity Increased Significantly in 2018

According to a new report from research firm IDC, consumer interest has waned recently for smartphone-dependent VR devices, while tethered and standalone models are growing more popular. IDC surveyed 1,643 VR users across France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and learned that the number of “high-performance” VR headsets increased 60 percent from 2017 to 3.9 million devices in 2018. The study identified different categories of users, based on their amount of time spent with VR devices, including a “hardcore” group (12 percent) that spent 16 or more hours monthly with VR.

“Mobile-dependent VR devices were excluded, but standalone and tethered VR headsets were included, regardless of PC or console platform,” reports VentureBeat. “Overall, respondents reported the same average level of satisfaction with their high-end VR headsets as a separate survey group reported with smartwatches: 7.5 out of 10.”

Gaming topped usage across devices — with 72 percent playing “at least one game during the final quarter of 2018” — while “55 percent watched at least one video in VR. IDC reports that no other VR use case had an average penetration of over 30 percent across all five countries.”

“As Facebook has suggested, multi-user VR appears to be a major potential selling point for headsets,” notes VB. “In France, a high of 62 percent of VR gamers preferred multiplayer experiences, with the U.S. close behind at 58 percent.”

“France was also the leader in non-gaming VR uses — between a quarter and a third of surveyed French users also tried VR creative apps, social apps, and shopping or browsing apps, even though the numbers were markedly lower in other countries.”

The study, sponsored by Sony, included findings specific to the PlayStation VR (pictured above), which is currently the top seller in the high-performance VR headset category.

“The PSVR rated a 7.6 in overall satisfaction compared with an average of 7.3 for other headsets, with 6.8 hours of monthly use versus 5.4 for others, and a lower need for customer service or tech support — 23 percent of users, versus 40 percent average for everyone else,” VB explains.