Which VR headsets are users most interested in? And which platforms are developers most interested in building apps and games for? The answers to those two questions are not the same.
Developer interest skews towards HTC Vive, as we discussed in a recent ARtillry Intelligence Briefing, and as published in a recent VRDC study. This is partly due to its open and developer-friendly orientation (“the Microsoft of VR platforms“).
However, when looking at user interest among “teir 1” headsets, they prefer the Oculus Rift over HTC Vive according to Nielsen. This is due to its more consumer-friendly orientation (“the Apple of VR platforms“).
And the PSVR beats both of them, due to lower cost and existing installed base of 50 million PS4 owners. It’s no coincidence that this week’s Oculus Rift price drop matches the PSVR’s price.
But at the end of the day, the biggest driver is the almighty dollar. The biggest audiences and distribution can be achieved for developers with platforms that reach the greatest numbers.
And that’s in turn a function of consumer adoption, meaning the land grab for market share of headset adoption will have a domino effect on the attractiveness of that platform for developers.
As we examined recently, there is a sort of osmosis of developer talent to the platforms with the greatest commercial potential. Viewing market share shifts in consumer sales is therefore a leading indicator of a given platform’s developer ecosystem.
That in turn impacts the content/games/experiences available on a these platform which further drives consumer interest. And that virtuous cycle continues to turn… around and around we go.
Back to Oculus’ price cut, these market dynamics put the move in a logical light: platform strength starts with consumer hardware adoption and a solid installed base. And price sensitivity is a key factor in that adoption formula.
We’ll continue to see a battle over market share. That will lead to more price competition which will ultimately be good for consumers. Expect more price cuts accross the industry in the coming months, as well as competition over features/specs and content libraries.
Disclosure: ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this article, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.
Header image caption: Oculus