It can be hard to know where to get started in virtual reality.
Although several high-profile virtual reality headsets have launched in the past couple of years, the world of VR can be confusing.
Some headsets need to be plugged into a powerful gaming computer, for example, but others only need a Samsung phone.
But it’s clear that the headsets currently on the market represent the early days of VR.
(IDC’s estimate did not include low-end VR headsets like Google Cardboard or Daydream, which are typically given away for free or sold for under $100 and use a phone as its screen and processor.)
But out of those 2.3 million headsets shipped, what are the most popular VR headsets so far, and which should you consider if you want to buy one? Let’s take a look at the top 5 VR headsets available today:
Samsung Gear VR
Total shipments: 485,000
Market share: 21.5%
Cost for headset: $130
Additional equipment needed: A high-end Samsung phone, like the Galaxy S8, which costs $750.
The Samsung Gear VR was the most popular VR headset in the first quarter of 2017, possibly because it’s more accessible than other VR headsets that require a gaming computer. Samsung worked with Oculus to develop the Gear VR, and it has its own VR app store.
Sony PlayStation VR
Total shipments: 429,000
Market share: 18.8%
Cost for headset: $400
Additional equipment needed: A PlayStation 4 gaming console, which costs an additional $399 if you don’t have one.
Business Insider’s Matt Weinberger reviewed the Playstation VR last fall. Here’s an excerpt from his review:
I’ve been playing with the Sony PlayStation VR for the past few days. And I have to say, while it’s still the very beginning of the would-be virtual reality revolution, Sony has come up with something incredibly promising, especially considering how easy and relatively inexpensive it is to get started.
And with big-ticket games like “Batman: Arkham VR,” cult hits in the making like “Until Dawn: Rush of Blood,” and fun multiplayer action games like “RIGS: Mechanized Combat League” coming exclusively to PlayStation VR, it will have a major leg up in the war for your wallet.
Total shipments: 190,000
Market share: 8.4%
Cost for headset: $800
Additional equipment needed: A high-powered gaming PC with a graphics card, which could cost as much as $1000 or more.
Business Insider’s Ben Gilbert wrote about the Vive last year:
It’s hard to be hyperbolic about how incredible the Vive is to use.
It’s literally the only system offering room-scale virtual reality, meaning you can get up and walk around and interact with the virtual world using the Vive’s shockingly effective motion controllers.
At the same time, it’s easy to be hyperbolic about how many glaring issues the Vive faces.
Standing up and walking around in VR is distinctly less appealing when you’re attached to an expensive computer via three heavy wires. That’s before you add in headphones, before you talk about the messy setup process, before you set aside a dedicated space in your home for it.
The Vive is amazing. And it’s also a mess.