Virtual Reality

The fight is on for a piece of the VR world

Estimates point to sales of the PS VR far outstripping those of its PC-based competitors.
Estimates point to sales of the PS VR far outstripping those of its PC-based competitors.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The enthusiasm is there, but cost and limited content may get in the way of market's rapid growth

Earlier this month, two virtual reality (VR) headsets hit the shelves in Singapore.

The PlayStation VR (PS VR) virtual reality headset was released on Oct 13, making it the first officially available consumer VR headset here. Razer's HDK2 (Hacker Development Kit 2), a PC-based VR headset targeted at developers, was released on Oct 5.

While Sony has not yet announced sales figures for the PS VR, analysts have predicted a strong uptake for the headset worldwide.

Market intelligence firms IHS Markit and SuperData Research have predicted sales of between 1.4 million and 2.6 million units respectively by the end of this year.

While the two estimates vary widely, they both point to sales of the PS VR far outstripping those of its PC-based competitors, the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift.

This is largely due to the PS VR being cheaper and having a larger potential user base, with 53 million PlayStation 4s versus 16 million VR-ready PCs.

Currently, both the Vive and Rift are unavailable here, although this is set to change as HTC is targeting a December launch for the Vive in Singapore.

Mr Joe McGinn, department chair of games software design and production at the DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore, thinks that there is potential for VR to take off here. He said: "There is tremendous enthusiasm for VR here. Many people I've run a VR demo for ask if they can show their friends, if they can buy it, and how much it costs."

However, Mr McGinn thinks that adoption of VR will still be slow, because of the high cost, the difficulty in setting it up, as well as the possible nausea that some users may experience.

He added: "And finally, there is the lack of content. Sony is launching PS VR with a relatively strong line-up of games, but some consumers will still hold off until there is more AAA content."

•The Straits Times takes a look at the Razer HDK2 and the PlayStation VR.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2016, with the headline 'The fight is on for a piece of the VR world'. Print Edition | Subscribe