The virtual reality market is currently small, and there's some uncertainty about how large it could eventually get.
But recent data from the IDC shows that global shipments for VR headsets jumped 241.6% during the first quarter of 2022, compared to Q1 of last year.
Meta accounts for 90% of the VR headset market with Quest 2. Meta's dominance is followed by ByteDance's Pico, which operates within China. Pico captures 4.5% of the overall VR headset market, according to the report.
"Meta continues to pour dollars into developing the metaverse but the strategy of promoting low-cost hardware at the expense of profitability isn't sustainable in the long run," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC's mobility and consumer device trackers, in the report.
In June, Meta's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg showcased VR prototypes during a demonstration, all of which are not yet available for sale. Meta, which has made a $10 billion bet on virtual and augmented reality, is developing technology so realistic that users feel like they're in the same room as other virtual people, said Zuckerberg in the presentation. At present, VR headsets are clunky, costly, and have low resolution.
Shipments of VR headsets are forecasted to grow in 2022, expected to reach 13.9 million, up 26.6% from last year.
Still, it's uncertain if Meta will hold its dominant position long-term, as Apple is expected to launch its own VR headset.
"All eyes will be on Apple as it launches its first headset next year, and while it is tempting to imagine the company shipping high volumes, keep in mind that this is its first headset that will appeal primarily to a small audience of early adopters and Apple fans," noted Ramon Llamas, research director with IDC's Augmented and Virtual Reality team.
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