Could Virtual Reality Reignite The PC Market?

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a1It’s been years since the growth within the personal computer market began to stagnate.  Fueled by the more mobile alternatives of laptops, tablets and smartphones, the decline appeared to have no end in sight.  That’s until only a few weeks ago when virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive began shipping to customers around the globe.  Requiring high performance computing and graphics cards, virtual reality seems to be the wave of the future.  This has us questioning whether or not the market may grow large enough to drive consumers back to PCs.

So, just how bad has the PC market been as of late? Over the last five years the total number of PC sales worldwide has fallen from 155 million to approximately 128 million. That’s not all though. Analysts expect the decline to continue for the foreseeable future, with estimated sales of 121 units by 2019. Laptop sales are also expected to decline slightly after 2016, with tablets getting the bulk of attention from consumers.

The problem with all of the predictions we have seen is that they fail to take into account the possible implications of a flourishing VR market. While, Sony is expected to launch a VR headset later this year, using their Playstation 4 console as the brains, and smartphone-powered VR has been taking off considerably over the last year, Facebook’s Oculus and HTC have a head start on the market and both of these high-performance VR headsets require high powered PCs or laptops. With some analysts predicting that combined, HTC and Oculus could sell as many as 20-30 million headsets by the end of 2019, and perhaps 55 million by the end of 2020, if even 30% of these individuals purchasing either headset need to go out and buy a new PC, that would equate to around 16 million additional PC sales by 2020, representing a decent chunk of the market moving forward.  That’s not all though.  From 2019 thereafter, the VR market is expected to nearly double in terms of users for several years.

With this all said, there are some caveats. By 2020, there is a good chance that smartphone-powered headsets could begin to eat away at the PS-powered VR headset market. Additionally it is possible that Sony’s PS VR could gain substantial market share and companies like Nintendo or Microsoft could enter the space, using their consoles as the brains instead of requiring a PC. Without a doubt it’s going to be a very interesting time within the tech sector as their is a lot of uncertainty as to where the VR market is headed next.

Do you think that virtual reality could have a substantial impact on the PC market? Let’s hear your thoughts in the VR to Increase PC Sales forum on VRTalk.com.