Quite a few industry experts predicted that 2016 would be the year when virtual reality really kicks off. While that hasn't exactly happened, users have still started gradually adopting this emerging technology, with Sony, Facebook, Samsung, and Google emerging as victors of this year's VR race. And while the first generation of commercial VR headsets is currently making its way to people's homes all over the world, the already slow user adoption rate of VR technology will likely become even weaker come next year. According to the latest report from DigiTimes, this trend has already started in recent months despite the fact that consumer electronics manufacturers are increasing investments in their VR operations.
In addition to the Facebook-owned Oculus, Sony, Google, Samsung, HTC, and other headset manufacturers, ASUS and Acer are also entering the VR and AR game in early 2017, but several industry experts have already expressed concerns regarding the overall maturity of these markets. Namely, numerous industry research companies have concluded that sales of VR products in 2016 have not only been weaker than expected but that they were actually diminishing as the year went on despite the fact that the market leader Sony, only launched its PlayStation VR headset in the last quarter of the year. Couple that with the fact that several more firms are planning to launch their first VR and AR products in early 2017, it's easy to see why industry analysts are skeptical about whether the existing market can sustain that expansion.
According to the same report, there are numerous reasons for this stagnation. For starters, VR hardware is still lacking content. This issue is something that only Sony managed to address to some degree, and the company was rewarded for that by the biggest piece of the VR market in 2016. In addition to this lack of content, consumers are reportedly still put off by high price tags of VR and AR headsets. Last but not least, most research firms agree that consumers still aren't completely awed by the existing technology and that further improvements, i.e. investments need to be made to combat that perception. All in all, while it still isn't likely that the tech industry's third attempt to commercialize VR will end up being a fad, the road to mainstream success will apparently be much longer than it was initially expected. Because of that turn of events, many companies may face massive financial losses due to entering the VR and AR market too early.