8% of US broadband households own a VR headset

Monday, April 15th, 2019 
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Parks Associates: 8% of US Broadband Households own a VR Headset, While 25% are Familiar With VR Headsets

  • Industry report addresses evolving ecosystem for VR, current gaming use cases, and challenges to expand beyond gaming

DALLAS — A new Parks Associates report finds gaming remains the primary use case for VR (virtual reality) headsets. Virtual Reality: The Evolving Ecosystem finds consumer-reported familiarity with VR technology has stayed at approximately one-fourth of US broadband households between 2017 and 2018, with gamers most likely to be familiar with this technology. Among consumers who own or are familiar with VR, 54% use their headset or would use it for gaming.

Parks Associates: Expected Virtual Reality Use Cases

“Sixty-two percent of US broadband households play video games, and while gamers are a passionate market segment, they can be limited in scope, which has stalled adoption of VR to a wider audience,” said Billy Nayden, Research Analyst, Parks Associates. “There has been some notable video content developed for VR, such as Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s short video experience Carne y Arena, which won an Oscar, but overall lack of quality, non-gaming content is inhibiting broader adoption.”

Content quality remains a challenge for VR headset owners, with 55% of VR headset owners feeling that content for their device has remained the same since they bought their headset and 3% believe it has gotten worse. The report notes the main barriers for VR content development are costs, the demand for interactivity, and limits on content length.

Mobile headsets are capable of playing most non-gaming content in VR but often cannot play premium games and have much lower NPS scores than other headset types. For gamers, PC-based and game console-based systems are the primary VR headset option, though standalone VR headsets are promoted as a cost saver.

“The aim of standalone VR headsets is to offer much of the same premium content as game console or PC-based headsets, without the need for additional hardware like a gaming console or high-powered PC,” Nayden said. “This technology drastically reduces the cost for consumers, while providing a more premium experience than smartphone-based systems.”

Virtual Reality: The Evolving Ecosystem examines the evolving ecosystem for VR, including content creation, distribution, and monetization and the major players and new entrants that are making it all happen. It assesses areas of opportunity and the growth of this new area of entertainment.

Additional research includes:

  • 15% of US broadband households have trialed VR.
  • 52% of headset owners report owning a smartphone-based system. PC-based systems and game console-based systems are the next most popular systems, with effectively the same adoption rate.
  • 28% of game console owners are familiar with VR headsets, and familiarity is even higher among owners of newer consoles.

Links: Parks Associates