Sony’s PlayStation VR (PS VR) immediately achieved sold-out status following its release on October 13. The event signaled the start of a new round of competition in the global VR device market in the fourth quarter of 2016. “Demand for VR devices will remain quite strong in the next two years,” said Jason Tsai, wearable device analyst for TrendForce. “Conversely, product shipments will not keep pace with the demand. Shortages of key components, particularly OLED panels, will prevent device makers from putting more products on the shelves.”
As VR devices are a new kind of consumer electronic products, there are going be manufacturing challenges. VR device makers and their component suppliers will have to work through issues related to yield rate and production capacity, so the supply of VR devices will be limited during their initial releases.
“The top three branded VR device vendors – HTC, Oculus and Sony – are all seeing high demand for their respective products, but they currently do not have the production capacity to match,” Tsai pointed out. “The three major vendors may face the unfortunate situation of not having enough products on stock to satisfy consumers during the peak sales season of November and December.”
The higher-than-expected demand for their products has spurred VR device vendors to expand their purchases of key components, including OLED panels. However, the increasing adoption of OLED displays in smartphones is squeezing the share of OLED panel supply for VR devices.
Google recently launched Daydream View, a VR viewer and controller package that works with compatible smartphones. The appearance of this type of hardware will also encourage smartphone makers to feature OLED displays on more of their products. In sum, TrendForce expects tight supply for VR-related components to persist over the next year or two.
PS VR to stay ahead of competitions on account of assistance from PS4 Pro
As every branded VR device vendors are having increasing their supply, Sony will remain as the market leader due to PS VR’s connection with the successful PlayStation 4 game console. Moreover, Sony will begin selling PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro) in November. As an upgraded version of PlayStation 4, PS4 Pro will incorporate all the major selling points (i.e. VR, HDR capability and improved hardware) and help propel Sony’s console sales to a higher level. According to TrendForce’s estimation, the total annual sales volume of PlayStation 4 will grow 15.2% from 18.4 million units in 2016 to 21.2 million units in 2017.
“Not only will the VR feature drive PlayStation sales, PS4 Pro’s hardware will also increase consumer interests in PlayStation VR,” said Tsai. “With the demand for PS VR set to take off, the main problem left for Sony is securing the supply of components. HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on the other hand will be competing for market share against the more exciting PS VR while facing production bottleneck related to parts shortages. Thus, HTC and Oculus will be in a more difficult position going forward.”