With both the HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift debuting at last, virtual reality is soon going to enter the mainstream of gaming. At least that’s what one would think. With that said, considering a recent poll of 2,000 self-described ‘Gamers’ conducted by Nelson, the majority of them haven’t even heard of the major virtual reality headsets on the market.
Maybe most gaming enthusiasts are so engulfed in whatever games they are playing that they have missed one of the biggest trends within the gaming industry since Nintendo launched the NES back in the mid 80’s, virtual reality. The poll, which targeted 2,000 US teens and adults over the age of 13, showed that an astounding 63% of all gamers had never heard of any of the major VR/AR headsets. This includes the Oculus Rift, HTC Rive, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft HoloLens and others. A total of 22% or 440 of the 2,000 gamers surveyed said that they had heard of the Oculus Rift, while a staggeringly low 6% or just 120 of the 2,000 gamers had heard of the HTC Vive. While both these results are incredibly low, at least the Oculus Rift has a 366% higher name recognition figure than the Vive does.
This data also shows just how powerful Google’s branding power is, as the Google Cardboard headset, a headset which costs under $20, came in second among gamers, with a recognition rate of 18%. Following Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR came in at 16%, Playstation VR at 14% and Microsoft’s HoloLens at 11%.
“Education will be an important factor for these companies to get the word out. However, this type of experience doesn’t really lend itself to traditional marketing driven education. A lot of the education will likely be organic through buzz/word of mouth and come from early adopters,” Nielsen Games GM Michael Flamberg stated. “This reinforces the importance of social influence in the development of these devices and content to foster a spirit of experience sharing so that early adopters can more easily advocate for VR. The early adopters, tech enthusiasts and social influencers can then cascade their influence to the masses.”
What the Nelson data also has shown is that 64% of those interested in VR/AR are male, with the average gamer earning an annual income of $62.870. While 62 percent of these gamers were Millennials and Teens, only 38% were over the age of 35. This indicates that the younger crowds are the early adopters.
While it’s still early in the VR adoption cycle, such data should be a bit alarming to HTC, who clearly needs to begin a marketing campaign to overcome the huge lead in name recognition that the Rift has maintained of them. At the same time, however, companies like HTC may just be waiting for word of mouth advertising to kick in. Maybe they feel that ultimately their product will speak for itself. Let’s hear your thoughts on these surprising numbers in the HTC Vive Vs. Oculus Rift forum on VRTalk.com.