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Virtual reality devices, including headsets and peripherals, offer consumers and businesses new ways to experience and share immersive content for entertainment, educational, social and other purposes.

VR’s unique capability to promote user interaction through highly immersive content provides untapped potential in terms of storytelling, advertising, the practice of medicine, business, travel and much more. Virtual reality headsets are now available at increasingly attainable prices, and many consumers have computing hardware capable of supporting the demands of VR software.

Compared with other consumer technology products, VR headset adoption, purchase, and purchase intention rates remain extremely low.

Slow Start

Only 7 percent of U.S. broadband households surveyed owned at least one virtual reality headset as of Q3 2017. Three percent reported having purchased a headset in the year prior, and 14 percent reported their intent to purchase one in the coming year. Those rates reflect a very young market.

The rate of year-over-year increase was substantial, though. Both the adoption and purchase rates tripled between early 2016 and Q3 2017. The percentage of broadband households indicating their intention to buy one or more VR headsets in the year ahead nearly tripled in the same18-month period.

Many companies anticipate strong growth for the VR market as both headsets and content become increasingly available and accessible.

The major companies that drove the early push for consumer VR — Facebook, Valve/HTC, Sony, Samsung and Google — continue to lead the market today. Microsoft joined them with the release of its Windows Mixed Reality headsets at the end of 2017. The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift still dominate the premium PC-based space, while Samsung and Google continue to rule the mobile VR market.

Pricing remains a constraint, particularly for mid-tier and premium head-mounted displays. The industry must address…