Third of UK gamers willing spend up to £500 on their first headset Flight & space sims, sports and driving games most anticipated
Gamers are ready for Virtual Reality, according to research from CONTEXT, the leading European IT market analysis company. Almost two-thirds (62 percent) are currently able to run VR games, and over half (52 percent) agree that VR is the most significant advance in entertainment technology in decades.
European gamers are far ahead of the general public both in terms of awareness, but also VR’s potential. Practically every gamer surveyed had heard of VR (99.5 percent), while this dropped to 73 percent for non-gamers. Further, only seven percent of gamers would label VR a gimmick, while this feeling jumps to 41 percent for non-gamers.
Old-school games for newest technology
Genres that have waned in recent times will be back thanks to VR. When asked to choose which type of game excited them most, 30 percent chose space and flight sims. Sports and driving games came a close second and third, with 27 and 26 percent. Bucking the current gaming trend, first-person shooters such as Call of Duty did not fare as well, with only 18 percent saying that they’re most excited to play FPS in VR. Even real-time strategy games beat shooters, with 20 percent of the vote.
When asked about what most excites them about the new technology in general, 83 percent opted for feeling like you are really in a game. The next nearest rival activity—experiencing something you would never do in real-life, such as sky diving—excited just under two-thirds (64 percent) of gamers. The prospect of feeling as if you’re in a stadium watching a match, or immersing yourself in a film is also capturing the imagination of European gamers, with 64 and 57 percent eager to try these VR experiences.
UK gamers willing to spend to get the best VR experience
When looking to purchase a VR headset, 31 percent of UK gamers would still look to a large specialist technology retailer compared to only 20 percent who would head online to Amazon. Price is the most important factor for almost half of UK respondents (40 percent across other European countries), but post-sales support and a demo opportunity are still in demand at 30 and 29 percent respectively.
As VR headsets launch, wallets around the UK will certainly become lighter. The most popular price bracket for a headset is £400-£500, which a third of UK gamers would spend. This is far above the European average of 18 percent. The cost of upgrading a PC will also take its toll, with a third willing to spend up to £350-£499 for an upgrade, and one in five (22 percent) going up to £500-£649.
The bar for the most desirable VR product has been set, as 35 percent of European gamers chose the Oculus Rift as the headset they are most likely to purchase. Sony PlayStation VR came in second at 21 percent, and Samsung Gear third with 19 percent.
What’s more, with driving, flight and space games set to be among the most popular in VR, there is an opportunity for retailers to capitalise on demand for racing wheels and flight sticks. The trend for shelling out from gamers continues as four in ten (43 percent) in the UK would spend £100-150 on VR controllers.
Concerns about negative aspects are low
The idea that VR would have a negative impact on society was wholeheartedly rejected by UK gamers, compared to their non-gamer counterparts. Whereas four in five UK consumers believed that VR will make people socialise less, only 12 percent of gamers agreed. Further only 31 percent of European gamers consider VR a solitary experience, while this rises to 56 percent for non-gamers.
Jonathan Wagstaff, UK & IE Country Manager at CONTEXT explained, “We see that concerns about VR dissipate the further along the adoption curve you are. And this is exactly what we would expect of a new technology. Whereas some consumers have yet to try VR and are still wary of it, our research confirms that gamers who have experienced it are generally not fearful of any negative consequences.”
In fact, gamers show great optimism about the technology, with 69 percent agreeing that VR will allow you to experience other times and places like never before. Almost half (48 percent) believe that that VR has the potential to revolutionise the way we live, and just over half (52 percent) think the technology will be commonplace in the home by 2026.
A VR experience a day…
When considering where they would use VR, four in ten gamers chose the living room, ahead of the bedroom at 26 percent. Almost half (47 percent) also believe a tethered headset for PC is the format of choice. 14 percent predicted daily usage, and one in four could see themselves using it every other day.
However, a quarter of gamers confirmed one of the few obstacles to purchase is the lack of major games available, while the cost of the headset (26 percent) and upgrading their PC to be VR capable (27 percent) are also concerns. Nevertheless, Wagstaff continued, “Such high figures for predicted usage so early on in the journey to VR is reassuring for both manufacturers and future users. As VR headsets and games develop, we can only see this anticipation growing stronger.”
Mass adoption edging closer
In terms of experience, gamers are losing their bragging rights over finding VR first. CONTEXT’s research revealed that more gamers have experienced VR, but the gap between gamers and non-gamers is closing. Google Cardboard has been tested by 57 percent of UK gamers compared to 50 percent non-gamers, whilst 39 percent of gamer respondents had tried Oculus compared to 21 percent of non-gamers.
CONTEXT will present the results of the survey at its event ‘The 101st Object to Shape the History of the World’ at the British Museum on 5th July 2016, joined by VR experts from the University of Reading in addition to Oculus, AMD, Attensi, Brighter, Rewind, Dell, and Ricoh.