Virtual reality headsets have surpassed the one million shipments mark in the third quarter of this year, marking the first time that this category of devices topped the one million shipment mark in just a single quarter, according to a report from tech market analyst firm Canalys. The report reveals that more than 490,000 PlayStation VR units were shipped in the three months ending September 30, making it the top grossing VR headset for the previous quarter. The Oculus Rift headsets came in second, with 210,000 shipments, followed by the HTC Vive VR with approximately 160,000 units shipped.
Jason Low, an analyst at Canalys, pointed to the distinct gaming culture in Japan as the major contributor to the PlayStation VR's positive results in the previous quarter. He added that Sony, which accounts for 80 percent of the Japanese VR headset market, is poised to remain at the top of that market as the company seeks to expand the supply of its VR headsets, coupled with the addition of new titles from various franchises such as Doom, Skyrim and Gran Turismo. The rise of many VR experience zones in the country has also helped to boost the adoption of the VR gadget across Japan.
Canalys Research Analyst Vincent Thielke attributed the growth in shipments for the Oculus Rift headsets to the company's strategy of offering the product at a discounted price of $399 for a limited period, noting how the VR segment relies on price to increase its adoption among consumers. In October, Oculus officially dropped the regular price of Oculus Rift with Touch Bundle to $399 due to the positive market results for the product in the third quarter of 2017. The same pricing strategy is expected to gain wider adoption by the new players in the VR market, Thielke added. Canalys also expects the global VR headset market to grow substantially next year with the arrival of new players that support Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality platform, with Low noting that the VR business is projected to gain an uptake as PC makers HP, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Dell introduce their own VR gadgets. In December of last year, Canalys released a report that forecast 20 million VR headsets would be shipped globally in 2020.