Declining Interest in VR Headsets: What’s Driving the Trend?
Interest in virtual reality (VR) headsets appears to be on the decline, but some tech giants like Apple, Sony, and Meta are still investing in this technology. Companies like Meta, Pico, and HTC also offer their own VR headsets alongside the popular Apple Vision Pro and Sony’s PSVR 2.
VR technology has come a long way since the release of the Oculus Rift in 2016. The field of view has improved, the resolution has increased, and issues like the Screen Door Effect have been minimized, providing users with a more immersive experience. Additionally, VR headsets are no longer limited to gamers; companies like Meta are promoting the use of VR in the workplace, envisioning a hybrid world where colleagues can interact virtually.
Despite these advancements, consumer interest in VR has declined. According to an IDC study, the VR/AR market has seen a 54.4% decline in the first quarter of 2023. A survey by EY Consulting also revealed that only 24% of respondents reported their companies using VR technology and only 15% used VR headsets for work. Additionally, a Piper Sandler survey found that while 26% of teenagers owned VR headsets, only 5% used them daily, and 48% showed little interest or were unsure about the Metaverse concept.
Various factors contribute to the decline in VR headset interest. Some workplaces don’t prioritize VR technology, while others are concerned about motion sickness and potential negative effects on vision and balance. However, affordability remains a significant barrier for consumers. The latest VR headsets, such as the Apple Vision Pro, PSVR 2, and Meta Quest 3, come with steep price tags that many consumers cannot afford.
The high cost of VR headsets is a key reason behind the success of the Meta Quest 2, which sold over 20 million units. Released in 2020, it offered better affordability and received positive reviews for its wireless connection and integrated chip, eliminating the need for expensive gaming PCs or consoles.
Despite the declining interest, there is still hope for VR. Apple is reportedly working on a cheaper version of the Vision Pro, and both Apple and Meta plan to introduce new features and expand use cases for VR. Price cuts and reductions in older models, like the Meta Quest 2, could also make VR more accessible to a broader audience.
Ultimately, companies need to recognize that even with advanced features, if the price of VR headsets remains out of reach for most consumers, the technology will struggle to gain widespread adoption.