During today’s Facebook Q3 2015 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg set measured expectations for first year shipments of VR headsets.
The consumer VR industry has been in an R&D phase for the last few years but the beginning of the market proper is seen by many to be the forthcoming launch of three major players in the VR headset space—HTC’s Vive, Oculus’ Rift, and Sony’s PlayStation VR, expected in Q4 2015, Q1 2016, and Q2 2016 respectively.
Expectations are all over board for the number of shipments that will be seen in the first year following the launch of these headsets. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Oculus parent company, Facebook, shared the company’s thinking on initial unit sales in the hundreds of thousands by comparing the market’s debut to that of early smartphones.
“So we’ve said often that we think that virtual reality and augmented reality could be the next big computing platform. But just to put that in perspective and compare it to the development of previous computing platforms, like phones and computers, I think the first smartphones came out in 2003,” Zuckerberg said in response to a question posed by a representative from USB. “And in the first year, I think BlackBerry and Palm Treo were the initial smartphones that came out. I think they each sold in the hundreds of thousands of units. So just to kind of give a sense of the time frame that we’re thinking about this and how we expect this to develop, that’s how we’re thinking about that.”
He further stressed an understanding of measured growth and long term commitment for virtual reality as a platform.
“Virtual reality has the potential to be the next computing platform that changes all our lives. It’s important to also recognize that this will grow slowly, like computers and mobile phones when they first arrived. So we’re committed to Oculus and Virtual Reality for the long term.”