IDC: XR market drops 21% in 2022, Meta leads VR segment, Nreal leads AR segment

2022 has been a tough year for the AR/VR market, with global shipments dropping sharply to 8.8 million units for the full year – down 20.9% from 2021, according to data. data from IDC. Analysts say the decline was expected as it is a nascent market and certain world events have massive effects on it (both positive and negative).

In 2021, the pandemic has left many people stuck at home with spare cash, which has been an opportunity for VR and AR headset makers. It also helped that the price increases for electronics and logistics hadn’t hit full force yet, so the Meta Quest 2 was still $300 – that price went up to $400 l last year (note: this is for the 128GB model, the 256GB was $500 but was priced down to $430 a few days ago).

The meta quest 2

For now, there is a pretty strong divide between headsets that can do virtual reality and headsets that can do augmented reality. There are also “Mixed Reality” headsets, capable of combining AR and VR. These so-called “XR” headsets include the Meta Quest Pro and HTC Vive XR Elite, which cost $1,000 and $1,100 respectively, a bit more than headsets that focus on either.

Meta owns around 80% of the overall VR/AR market, ByteDance (yes, the company behind TikTok) is a distant second with 10% after acquiring Pico. The other Top 5 companies are DPVR, HTC and iQIYI. Sony launched its new PSVR 2 headset last month and the company says there won’t be any supply issues, so we’ll see how much of the VR market it can capture.

The pure AR glasses market is quite different – ​​there Nreal dominates with almost 100,000 shipments last year. Note that Nreal was sixth in the overall VR/AR market, which is primarily focused on VR at the moment.

“As Meta and ByteDance compete in the VR segment, Nreal has been able to slowly grow its presence by attracting mobile gamers,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager, Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers at IDC. “Although it is still early days for AR and VR, Meta has been able to build a moat for itself through its various first-party and third-party content. This is where other players such as Sony and potentially Apple can provide significant competition, but in the long term this will put pressure on others including ByteDance and Nreal.

Nreal’s deals include the Air AR glasses, which are currently $380 on Amazon. These are quite lightweight and look a lot like regular sunglasses. The Air has a 3840 x 1080 pixel OLED display and creates an image equivalent to a 130-inch screen at 4m/13ft (46° FOV with 49 pixels per degree).

Nreal Air AR Glasses

The Nreal Airs offload the processing to an external device – you can use them to play on the go with a Nintendo Switch or Valve Steam Deck. Alternatively, they can be an extra screen for a PS5 or Xbox Series X at home.

They also work with Android phones through the Nebula app and there’s a beta version for Mac that uses the glasses’ 6DoF tracking to create multiple virtual displays around the wearer.

Nreal Air AR glasses can be used for gaming, video streaming and as multiple virtual monitors


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