Slow Holiday Start Seen for PS VR

Virtual reality headsets are among the most-wanted holiday items, according to the Consumer Technology Association. And according to research from Adobe, items like the Sony PlayStation VR were among those that sold out quickly during the Black Friday shopping week. 

However, early sales data collected by one research firm doesn’t paint the VR sales category as gangbusters: SuperData Research significantly scaled back its 2016 forecast for sales of the PS VR from 2.6 million to 745,000 and cautioned against VR stakeholders getting too excited. Early adopters have made their purchases already, and for the PC segment (the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive), gifting just a headset isn’t enough. 

“The specs required are complex and the purchase would be difficult to navigate if you are not an enthusiast,” Stephanie Llamas, SuperData director of research and insights, said of the PS VR. “Mobile devices still have the best opportunity in this market, but because only the Pixel supports Daydream, Google needs phones and adopters that won’t exist until next year.” 

For the PS VR, the numbers were more than halved with Sony deciding to cut back on marketing for the 2016 shopping season, and instead make a bigger push when its next-gen console, the PlayStation Pro, has a larger install base, according to Llamas. “Had Sony pushed the PS VR the way they’ve been pushing their other new hardware, the demand would have certainly fulfilled a supply of over 2 million,” Llamas said. 

Sony had not returned a call for comment at presstime.