When I was growing up the future looked fantastical! Jetpacks, hover cars, floating skateboards and virtual reality. Well, 1 out of 4 ain’t bad. With Facebook’sOculus Rift hitting shelves earlier this week, and several more competitive units coming to retail in the near future, virtual reality is legit.
With all the hype around virtual reality, we asked ourselves, how are current sales and how will they shape up moving ahead? The company was tight-lipped about actual numbers of pre-orders, but Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said at the Consumer Electronics Show in January,”Pre-orders are going much better than I ever could have possibly expected.” Although one gaming forum, NeoGAF, full of pre-order gamers awaiting their unit, estimated anywhere from 350K – 450K units, based on their order numbers and production predictions. Yet, this is purely speculative.
Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services analysts firm, expects Oculus to sell 667,000 Rift headsets is 2016, generating about $400 million in revenue. Next year, the firm expects revenue to quadruple to $1.6 billion. By 2020,Rift sales, along with video game royalty fees, are expected to generate $7B in revenue for Facebook or 10% of Facebook’s overall revenue.
As expected, within 48 hours of the launch, profiteers had posted the Oculus on Craigslist and Ebay for double or even 3 times the $599 asking price. The posts, complete with asking prices from $1,200 – $1,800 alongside pictures of the unopened packaged unit, demonstrate that retail becomes the wild west when supply cannot meet demand.
I, for one, predict that virtual reality units like the Oculus Rift, will be THE Christmas gift of 2016 similar to the drone in 2015. Side note: Are any of those drones still around, or were they all broken the first week after Christmas like my neighbors? At least virtual reality is a reality. Now, I’m just waiting for my hovering skateboard like the one Marty McFly used to escape Biff in Back to the Future.