Global shipments of XR headsets declined 19 per cent year-on-year in 2023, mainly due to the lack of use cases aside from gaming, Counterpoint Research statistics showed.

The research company reported the decline would have been much steeper had it not been for the launches of Sony PlayStation VR2 and Meta Quest 3 headsets last year.

Meta Platforms accounted for 59 per cent of total global XR headset shipments in 2023, down from 77 per cent the previous year, a fall attributed to increased competition from Sony. Meta’s shipment volume was down 38 per cent.

The Facebook-parent’s continued leadership of the XR market was partly put down to lowering the price of its Quest 2 headset ahead of the Quest 3 launch in Q4.

Quest 3 emerged as the best-selling model in Q4 as it captured over half of total shipments, but Counterpoint Research noted sales in the headset’s launch quarter were down 33 per cent on Quest 2’s first quarter.

The research company added the higher price point of the Quest 3, along with the continued availability of the Quest 2 and competition from other headsets contributed to the decrease in shipments for Meta’s newest model compared to its predecessor.

While gaming remains the most popular use case for XR headsets, Counterpoint Research noted motion sickness, bulky form factors and noticeable service lag curbs wider adoption.

The entry of headsets by other major players, such as Apple, could accelerate content production over the coming years and attract additional companies into the sector, it added, though cautioned of slow growth for the market overall.