Veil Of Secrecy
Tech companies have been surprisingly reluctant to share any real numbers about their VR sales. Sony and Samsung only shared some very rough estimates at the beginning of the year. And HTC, Google, and Oculus have yet to release any official sales data for their devices at all! But one courageous porn studio, BadoinkVR, has now stepped forward in a bold move to finally lift this veil of digital secrecy.
Who Is BadoinkVR
BadoinkVR specializes in adult videos made for virtual reality and, according to GQ magazine, is “at the forefront of the burgeoning new industry”. Because BadoinkVR distributes porn in every major VR format, this places them in a unique position to analyze the relative popularity of different headsets. Recently, the studio published some of the download statistics from their site and the results are quite surprising.
The numbers show that the Gear VR is still the dominant headset in the VR space, with a whopping 40% of all BadoinkVR downloads being dedicated to Samsung’s device. In comparison, the “Google Cardboard” category which includes basically all other cell phone headsets only claimed 23% of the download share. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive made up a combined total of 25% and the remaining 12% went to the PS4 and Google Daydream.
While these numbers are not actual sales figures, they can still provide a useful measure of each headset’s popularity. If it’s true that the Gear VR is playing such a dominant role in the VR marketplace, then this tells us a lot about how people are using VR and what content creators can do to capture this growing audience.
The Gear VR is different from headsets like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive because it is decidedly more casual. The Gear VR makes obvious compromises on features and quality in exchange for a more cost-effective and convenient experience. This is a trade-off many users seem willing to make and should be encouraging news to industry insiders because it suggests that more people will embrace VR as costs decrease over time. However, compared to cheaper vr headsets like the Google Cardboard, GearVR is high quality.
Hours Of Engagement
Gear VR is also different from the Rift or Vive in that it encourages a more condensed type of interaction. Users of the gear VR are less likely to be interested in using their headset for extended periods of time and instead are much more inclined towards brief experiences. They often prefer to slap on their headsets for 15 minutes or so, have a brief session of entertainment, and then simply go about the rest of their day. These users would much rather have a concise experience that can be easily accessed than an elaborate adventure that requires hours of engagement.
The primary lesson to be learned from the popularity of Samsung Gear VR and BadoinkVR’s statistics in general is that convenience is key. There’s little doubt that one of the main reasons the Gear VR had such success is because many people already owned Samsung phones and the Gear VR was simply the easiest and most accessible way for them to experience VR. Over time, the level of convenience and accessibility of all VR headsets will only increase and this should guarantee the success of VR for decades to come.