Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) has a winner on its hands with its Gear VR headset, with SuperData finding it shipped the most virtual reality (VR) headsets during the first quarter of the year.
According to an update to its VR headset market report, the research firm said Samsung shipped 782,000 Gear VR headsets during Q1, giving it the status as the most popular VR headset vendor in the market. The sales of its VR headsets did get a lift from Samsung’s promotion centered on the new Galaxy S8 line of smartphones. Samsung threw in a free VR headset for those who pre-ordered the Galaxy S8 smartphone.
Coming in second was Sony Corp. (SNE) and its PlayStation VR headset: SuperData said Sony shipped 375,000 units. The third-place vendor was Vive, which SuperData said shipped 95,000 units. Coming in a distant fourth place was Oculus, the Facebook Inc. (FB) VR unit that was only able to ship 64,000 units in the first quarter. (See also: Facebook’s Oculus Slashes Price of VR Headsets.)
Looking out to the remainder of the year, SuperData forecasts that the Samsung Gear VR will ship 6.7 million units by the end of the year while the PlayStation VR should ship 2.6 million units and Vive 553,000 units. Oculus is only expected to ship 346,000 for the year.
“Samsung has said that the S8 is their best launch ever, outpacing the S7,” dais SuperData’s VP of research and strategy and head of VR/AR strategy Stephanie Llamas told MCV in an interview. “A large portion of last year’s 4.5m Gear VR shipments came from S7 pre-orders so we anticipate the S8’s success with get even more devices into consumer hands.” (See also: Oculus Co-Founder Palmer Luckey Leaves Facebook.)
Oculus on the Rocks?
While Samsung may be enjoying good growth for its VR headset, Oculus is suffering from lackluster demand and changes at the company aimed at driving more demand. It doesn’t help that the Oculus VR headsets cost more than the offerings by Samsung and other competitors. Earlier this month. Oculus announced it is shuttering its VR content production unit, opting instead to go with content produced by third parties.
In blog post Jason Rubin, VP of content at Oculus, said that while Story Studio, which it launched two years ago, created a series of “cutting edge” VR shorts, the market is evolving with new creators entering the fray, which has resulted in Oculus deciding to close its own content studio. The closing of Oculus’ Story Studio comes amid a shakeup at Facebook’s VR unit, which the social media network operator paid $3 billion for in 2014. At the time, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg predicted VR headsets will become part of the daily lives of billions. That hasn’t happened yet, resulting in Oculus lowering the prices of its VR headsets. Oculus is also embroiled in a lawsuit with ZeniMax, the video game maker.