Around 2.5 million Australian households are expected to have virtual reality (VR) headsets by 2020 as consumer awareness and interest grows for this kind of technology.
According to technology analyst firm Telsyte, most Australians over 16 have at least some knowledge of VR, thanks to companies likes Google, Facebook and Sony boosting its profile. In its report Telsyte Australian VR & AR Market Study 2017, the analyst firm predicts that 115,000 VR headset units will be sold in the second half of this year, 46% of that will be for mobile devices while 8% will be for PC-based systems. This number will grow to 500,000 units in 2017.
This is despite one in three Australians having concerns about the health effects of using VR gear, particularly when it comes to the technology's impact on eyesight. I'm one of those people who seem to react badly to PlayStation VR, so I can relate.
While mobile VR, such as Samsung Gear VR and the upcoming Google Daydream View, is expected to generate strong sales, technological limitations will inhibit its use, particularly for video games. Nonetheless, mobile VR will continue to be a strong platform for immersive video content.
For VR, video games will be the most lucrative area:
"Telsyte believes video gaming will be a key driver for the adoption of VR in Australia. 76 per cent of those interested in buying a VR unit indicated they 'want to purchase a VR device to have an enhanced gaming experience', while 66 per cent indicated that they were interested in applications other than gaming, including movies, education, sports viewing, events, and eCommerce."
Sony PlayStation VR launched in Australia today and Telsyte thinks this headset will be the VR leader in Australia. The analyst firm estimates that PlayStation VR will rake in 65% of VR hardware revenue in the second half of 2016.
"This prediction is backed by Telsyte survey findings which indicate that 20 per cent of PS4 users indicate a desire to buy a VR headset," Telsyte said.
But VR isn't just appealing to consumers. Around 60% of Australian and New Zealand organisations have started developing or planning to create VR applications for internal and external use.
“Entertainment will be the main driver of VR adoption in Australia, however, organisations of all types are excited by the prospects of developing VR applications," Telsyte Managing Director Foad Fadaghi said.