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VR Outsells AR Headsets in 2025

Question

If you asked someone in the early 2010s about virtual reality, they'd likely hearken back to the VR craze of the 90s, which fizzled out instead of being the promised wave of the future. But since then, with the development of the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard and other systems, virtual reality has become more accessible and more useful than ever before. Estimates of sales of VR systems in 2016 exceeded 12 million units worldwide.

Augmented reality, or AR, has come into its own in about the same timeframe. AR overlays virtual content onto images of the real world. Google Glass, introduced in 2013, and Microsoft's HoloLens, still in development, are wearable AR devices. Pokemon Go, introduced in summer 2016, demonstrated the possibilities of smartphone-based AR - no glasses needed. As Google Glass continues to find application in factories and other workplaces Apple is rumored to be designing their own AR headset. *See related question here.)

Will there be more VR headset sales than AR headsets sales in 2025?

This question will resolve as "Yes" if the number of virtual reality headsets sold globally in 2025 exceeds the number of augmented reality headsets sold in the same year. Credible industry reports will be required for resolution.

For the purposes of this question, an "augmented reality headset" is defined as a device which is portable and worn over the user's head, and whose primary use is in augmented reality functions. "Augmented reality functions" are defined as recognizing and interpreting objects in the user's real environment, and producing digital information and images overlaid over the user's view of their real environment, which update in real time as the user moves and interacts with the digital and physical environment.

For the purposes of this question, a "virtual reality headset" is defined as a device which is portable and worn over the user's head, and whose primary use is in virtual reality functions. "virtual reality functions" are defined as mostly or entirely covering the user's field of view, and tracking the user's viewpoint in 6 degrees of freedom, which the user can interact with through movement, voice, or other controls.

In the case that a device is capable of both AR and VR functionality, it will be considered an AR device only in the calculation of resolution. Devices such as smartphones in 2021, whose primary functions are not intended as AR or VR, do not qualify for the purposes of this question.

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