I’m half-half when it comes to predictions, as I’m aware that major research companies base these predictions on a healthy mix of data & gut feeling, although that gut feeling is usually based on tangible and applicable experience in the subject. However when the folks at SuperData publish a study and/or make statements, I tend to take note.
Last week, Microsoft announced pre-orders for headsets from its partners in the Windows Mixed Reality program, including the new Samsung Odyssey Mixed Reality HMD that features an OLED display among other high-end specifications. SuperData Vice-President of research and strategy, Stephanie Llamas weighed in on these new HMDs and predicted that they would outsell the Oculus equivalent by two-to-one in the fourth quarter. Talk about making a bold statement.
Llamas did use a little bit of restraint, noting that the ‘mixed reality’ appellation could be a double-edged sword:
“However, there may be confusion around the names Mixed Reality and Virtual Reality. These headsets offer Virtual Reality experiences – not what the industry would consider Mixed Reality. So consumers may actually expect something different or more advanced from Rift and Vive, which will cause confusion and disappointment – a major marketing issue that could fracture consumer expectations for the entire industry as a result.”
Llamas also noted that content for the headsets shouldn’t be in short supply, with Microsoft revealing that one of its biggest gaming franchises Halo, would be available as an experience on these devices, and will launch on October 17. Beyond that, unlike Oculus and Vive, Microsoft has what she called ‘brand recognition’ amongst consumers, which could positively impact sales.
As part of its Windows 10 Fall Creators Update later this month, HMDs from Microsoft’s partners will ship alongside the new update on October 17, with prices ranging from $399 to $499, several of which can already be pre-ordered on the Microsoft Store. The aforementioned Samsung device will, however, ship on November 6 with a starting price of $499. Expect more details about the unit during next week’s Samsung Developer Conference.
VR for Enterprise – The angle most are overlooking:
CORTANA. Need I say more? These HMDs will have something both HTC Vive & Oculus Rift will not: the Power of having a voice-activated Virtual Assistant. This could be the detail that sways companies already running Windows throughout their business to select one of the Windows Mixed Reality solutions over the others.