Economy, Sci & Tech

A Market Still in Its Infancy

A Market Still in Its InfancyA Market Still in Its Infancy

There has been a buzz in smartphone-based virtual reality headsets recently, but are Iran’s technology conscious consumers listening?

Some estimates put the VR industry as the next “great thing” in personal computing, with all the main manufacturers chasing that potential money earner.

Sony is the latest to release a VR headset add-on to its PlayStation Four games console earlier this week, IB Research reported.

In spite of this lack of interest by local consumers, globally, the VR headset market is expected to grow at a 99% compound annual growth rate between 2015 and 2020, with VR shipments likely to create a $2.8 billion hardware market by 2020 globally.

However, in Iran, the picture is not as exciting as international markets, with a tepid response to the industry in general.

Several local stores stock the headsets, including Xiaomi, LG, Samsung, VR Box, TSCO and Remax, which range anywhere from 4,900,000 to 7 million rials ($140-200). The prices of the headsets are in line with international prices, though like mobile phones, they are not likely to be backed by guarantees inside the Iranian market.

Companies like MeghdadIT, Baneh Shop and others also list the items on their sites, but only responded to questions about how well their VR headsets sell.

The retailer said on the phone that although the sector is still new, they currently sell 10 to 20 VR headsets a month.

MeghdadIT, another local store, stated that they sell one to two a month, “But only a handful of customers have requested the items and not many people seem all that interested currently.”

This message was backed up by potential buyers who are also not entirely enthused by the idea, with several respondents looking nonplussed at the concept of buying the VR headsets.

One owner of a new Samsung Galaxy S7, said to Financial Tribune, “I am not aware of software that works with the S7, that’s why I have not looked into the technology yet.”

It is early days for the VR sector in Iran ,as many would-be programmers are still learning to master the VR technology.

The industry, due to its low-cost entry point, is likely to have a growing fan base in the coming years, as people learn what they can do with the items.

Beyond gaming, virtual reality is likely to help with education, memory learning and even medical training, according to reports from Asia and the US.

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