The Metaverse gets off to a rocky start. This year, sales of virtual reality headsets have fallen sharply. Despite the diligence displayed by Meta, the general public remains indifferent, but the deal may change soon.
The metaverse is trying to fly. Despite the gigantic budget released by Meta, Internet users are filthy Worlds of the Horizon, the online world accessible through a virtual reality headset. In recent news, Meta’s metaverse doesn’t stack than 200,000 users monthly assets, far from the initial objectives. even Meta employees are not convinced from the great obsession of their chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.
Rival platforms, like Sandbox or Decentralandare also struggling to grow their user base, in part due to cryptocurrency crash. Despite ambitious projects launched by brands in 2021, the metaverse did not sit well with internet users in 2022.
Sales down 12%
Sales of virtual and augmented reality headsets in 2022 confirm public indifference for the metaverse. According to data collected by CCS Insight analysts, sales of VR headsets fell by 12% worldwide between 2021 and 2022. Only 9.6 million accessories were sold this year. Last year, the VR headset sector had gained a lot of popularity. According to IDC, 11.2 million copies were shipped worldwide, up 92.1% year over year.
Despite the excitement created by Facebook’s name change, the virtual reality headset remains a warm product. It has not yet managed to convince the vast majority of consumers. Price remains a major barrier to adoption, says CCS Insight analyst Marina Koytcheva, especially in times of economic crisis:
“Inflation has hit consumer budgets in many key markets this year, and some people who would have bought a VR headset this year in better circumstances have put off their purchase”.
Released in 2020, Meta’s Quest 2 headset remains the best-selling device on the market. Unfortunately, increasing the price of the accessory significantly slowed sales. This summer, the starting price of the helmet has gone from 349 euros to 449 euros. Even higher, Quest Pro is aimed primarily at businesses and professionals. Priced at €1,799, it is not intended to accelerate the adoption of mixed reality.
The decrease is clear less marked in the United States. Research firm NPD Group recorded a sales decline of just 2% in a year. The US market proved more resilient. The Meta Quest app was also the most downloaded app on the App Store in Christmas 2022, as it was in Christmas 2021.
In its annual report, CCS Insight is not much more optimistic about the coming year. Analysts expect 11.4 million mixed reality headsets to be sold in 2023 worldwide, barely more than in 2021.
Despite sluggish beginnings, the VR/AR headset sector will eventually take off, CSS Insight prophesies. Sales are expected to start growing from 2024. The firm expects equipment scale is tripled between 2024 and 2026. Several events should spur consumer interest in the coming years.
Let’s quote first the almost messianic arrival of Apple in shop. By 2023, the Cupertino giant should market its first mixed reality headset and launch its metaverse. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s effort will reshuffle the industry cards. Demand for games and immersive experiences is expected to explode at the end of the announcement, Kuo said. The release of PlayStation VR 2, the PS5’s VR headset, is also expected to boost sales in the near future.
On a second occasion, the advent of augmented reality glasses should contribute to greater adoption by the general public. By 2025, a significant portion of devices sold will be AR glasses, the report points out. The number of glasses in circulation should double next year.
According to the latest news, Meta has plans to launch its first AR glasses in 2024. Forced to cut costs, the group postponed the launch date. As a reminder, Meta collaborates with the Ray-Ban brand for make the accessory as discreet as possible. This approach aims to appeal to the general public. By 2026, Apple should too enter the augmented reality glasses market with the long-awaited project ” Apple glass “. Here too, the entry of Apple on the scene should give a new impetus to the sector.