New numbers home in on Vive sales

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A brief in 87870 news offers us some interesting news about Vive sales worldwide. Alvin Graylin, China Regional President of VR at HTC, said that the company sold 100,000 units in August, an acceptable if low number for a comparatively expensive consumer electronics product. This month, however, another HTC representative, Cher Wang, said the company sold in excess of 140,000 units, a 40,000 rise in just a few weeks.

This means a few things. First, it’s abundantly clear that VR is still a niche product; 140,000 is quite high for, say, a piece of enterprise hardware, but not a gaming rig. In comparison, we can estimate that Apple sells 667,000 iPhones per day while all manufacturers combined ship about 422,000 laptops per day.

Further, we learn that VR growth will happen in spurts. As users begin seeing better content and visiting friends with the Vive and PSVR, they will start considering the technology for themselves. There are few real analogs in the CE space, but we can look at the rise of 3DTV, another niche tech, over the past few years.

According to EET, sales were minuscule in the first few years, then rose to significant levels by 2015. Again, not everyone jumped onto the 3DTV bandwagon immediately, but waited until they saw compelling content or began simply updating their televisions.

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But no one will “update” their VR experience. The primary issue is that the Vive requires a very solid gaming PC to play anything of consequence. This adds about $1,500 to the already steep price. Further, while the games are quite compelling, there is no can’t miss content, a situation similar to the early days of 3DTV.

But VR isn’t 3DTV. VR, at least as evidenced by VC investment, is on a rocket ship to the virtual moon and 140,000 is a number to crow, not hide. If the next quote we hear in two months is 200,000 then we can be worried. For now it looks like VR is slowly but surely gaining altitude.