2016 is poised to be the year that virtual reality really gets going, as Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive are all scheduled to make their commercial debuts this year. Now, research group SuperData has put out a report (via IGN) that provides some predictions for how well the systems will sell this year.
According to the report, Europe will lead the way with $1.9 billion in VR sales (hardware, accessories, and software) during 2016. The North American market will hit the No. 2 spot with $1.5 billion, while Asia ($1.1 billion) and the rest of the world ($0.6 billion) will follow.
Put together, the VR industry will generate $5.1 billion in 2016, according to SuperData's report.
That's up from $660 million in 2015, when headsets were only available to developers. SuperData added that it expects the VR market to swell to $8.9 billion in 2017 and climb to $12.3 billion in 2018.
In terms of sales by model, SuperData predicts that "light" mobile VR experiences, such as Google Cardboard, will lead the charge with 27.1 million units sold in 2016. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are estimated to sell a combined 6.6 million units, "Premium" mobile VR devices like Samsung Gear VR will move 2.5 million units, while Sony's PlayStation VR will come in last with 1.9 million.
By the end of 2016, there VR market will reach an install base of 55.8 million consumers, SuperData said.
"Looking at the consumer market in more detail, we observe that especially younger consumer groups show a strong interest in virtual reality," SuperData said in the report. "However, this consumer group does do not have the spending power necessary to support high-end devices. It is the more mature demographics that have the disposable income, with 18-54-year-olds saying they're willing to spend around $280 for hardware. Likewise, emerging markets like China are volume-reliant since average user revenue is low. Platform holders will initially heavily subsidize their hardware to build up significant market share."
The report also sheds some light on gamer interest by genre. Action leads the way, followed by Action-Adventure, Adventure, FPS, and RPG. Another slide from the report speaks to the level of interest people have in VR and how much money they'd be willing to spend on a device.
Take a look at both charts below to learn more.
The full report, "Virtual Reality Market Brief," is available as a free download here.
SuperData compiled its market estimates from a "consortium of providers," including developers, publishers, and payment service providers. The player behavior and sentiment information, meanwhile, was gathered from a survey of a 557 "qualified" US respondents in November and December 2015.
Oculus Rift preorders open later today. You can reserve a device without paying upfront--and doing so puts you at the front of the line to get an Oculus Touch controller when they ship later in the year.