Accessories Industry Will Depend on VR in 2016
There have already been some big games to come out in 2016, some of which include Dark Souls III and The Division. And it’s rumored that many more are on the way. Virtual reality headsets are just now starting to get to consumers, but it doesn’t seem to be helping to grow accessory sales.
Chris Poole, the Senior Account Manager at GfK (research company), said, “If we look at the traditional console accessories market (no toys-to-life or digital content), the market is down 3.3 per cent year-to-date in units.”
He added, “But it is up 2.6 per cent year-to-date in revenue. The main product areas are still controllers, headsets and docks/chargers. The latter is down 0.9 per cent in units and 7.2 per cent in revenue, whereas controllers are down 8.3 per cent in units and up 1.8 per cent in revenue, and headsets are up 11.9 per cent in units and 3.1 per cent in revenue. The feeling is that gamers have been less inclined to buy extra controllers as they are playing online more, where headsets are needed for new titles like The Division.” Even though 2016 (as of now) is a flat year in regards to accessories, Poole thinks that it was a good year for accessories.
He said, “The traditional console accessories market in 2015 was up 7.1 percent in units and 18 percent in revenue compared to 2014, boosted by the new consoles.” There’s one huge trend at the moment that could seriously impact the industry and make 2016 into a great year for accessories or possibly bring it down. Poole said that the largest the most prevalent tendency is “a decline in traditional console controllers with online-only and new forms of interaction – virtual reality – on the horizon.”
Virtual reality is what’s getting people excited in the accessories industry. Jonathan Rose, the business development manager at Lime Distribution, said, “Virtual reality on PS4 is going to launch with a huge bang and I, for one, am hoping that bang is sustained. I’m pretty sure it will be a more immersive experience and a natural progression into the future of gaming. I know that’s what I thought about when I was a child, that it would be cool to play inside a video game and here we are taking a step in that direction. It’s a whole new world of accessories for us and we can’t wait.”
Jon Watts, the brand manager at Accessories 4 Technology (A4T) agreed as he said, “There can be absolutely no argument – 2016’s accessory market will be shaped by virtual reality. Mobile VR headsets like our own make the huge wealth of content available on the Play and App stores accessible to anyone with a smartphone. The imminent launch of PlayStation VR will also bring with it a whole host of new officially licensed accessories. I think PC accessory sales will continue to grow exponentially – HTC Vive will run exclusively on Windows, OS and Linux, while Oculus Rift only runs fully on Windows. As gamers have to split their time between various consoles and PC, we should expect a spike in multiformat accessory sales as well.”
He further said, “Our mission is to give consumers free, 24/7 access to the latest VR news and content from all industries – beyond just mobile VR and gaming. The VR boom is a global phenomenon and Stealth VR has already proved a massive hit in Japan, where it launched in March.Virtual reality means a whole new world of accessories for us and we can’t wait.” There are traditional products still doing well too. Watts noted, “PlayStation 4 and Xbox One continue to drive accessory sales as last-generation sales drop off.”
Lime Distribution’s Jonathan Rose, said, “We expect Astro Gaming to really continue to capture the market, it never ceases to improve on its products even when you think there is nothing to improve upon. Accessories, as always, is an awesome sector to be in. Summer slump? Not here. We have some big announcements coming this year for new products, new licensing and new exclusives. It’s been an exciting and successful year so far and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.”