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Sony Sells 2 Million PlayStation VR Headsets, but Study Shows VR Growth Stalling

Sony has sold 2 million PlayStation VR headsets since the introduction of the device about a year ago, the company announced Thursday. However, new data from YouGov shows that VR headset adoption has stalled.

Sony’s latest milestone comes less than six months after the company announced the sale of 1 million PSVR headsets this summer. Competitors HTC and Oculus have yet to share sales numbers for their respective VR headsets, but Sony is widely believed to be the market leader, in part because a relatively low price as well as a large potential customer base: Sony has sold more than 70 million PS4 consoles capable of powering the company’s VR headset.

The new PSVR sales number was celebrated by some of the speakers of the VRX conference in San Francisco Thursday as a proof point for a growing VR market, but YouGov Research Director Tom Fuller proceeded to pour cold water over that notion with new data gathered from YouGov’s consumer panel.

Based on multiple surveys with 12,000 consumers, YouGov found that the adoption of VR hardware has effectively stalled. 7 percent of U.S. adults now own a VR headset, according to YouGov, compared to 6 percent a year ago. “The penetration has plateaued,” Fuller said.

YouGov VR data

Fuller also shared some reasons voiced by consumers about why they haven’t bought into VR just yet. On the top of that list continues to be the high price for VR systems, despite recent price cuts. “Cost is a major constraint to consumer adoption,” he said. However, consumers also told YouGov that they fear of nausea and isolation, and believe that there isn’t enough good content available for them.

YouGov VR data

“The constraints to growth in VR have not been addressed,” Fuller said. “I don’t see industry-wide efforts to address these.”

Aside from the cost issue, Fuller argued that the industry also could do more to embrace additional forms of content that go beyond gaming, with data showing that a significant amount of consumers were looking to watch movies, take house tours and even do shopping in VR.

YouGov VR data

Fuller also argued that consumers are ready for longer-form content in VR. “People will get into long narrative,” he said, pointing to a trend of longer books and movies as well as binge-watching. “People who are talking about attention deficit are just confessing that their content isn’t good enough to engage,” he said.

If the content was right, VR would eventually take off as well, he concluded. “If you guys get the story right, the technology will be just fine.”

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