The Motley Fool expects GoPro to flop at the hands of VR. Me, not so much.

Will VR be the demise of GoPro?

The Virtual Reality (VR) train is picking up speed and dominating most major tech event headlines. It’s obvious we’re witnessing the resurgence of VR. But could GoPro become its collateral damage? Rick Munarriz at The Motley Fool seems to think so.

In my opinion, that might be a little foolish. I mean that with a bunch of respect. They have some damn smart people over there. It could be that they’re looking at the VR/GoPro relationship with a different optic – perhaps more informed, but I digress :). The premise of their argument is that GoPro occupies the same market as VR headsets (or systems) and thus relies on the same consumer segment – young male gamers. As such, The Motley Fool claimed that the introduction of hoverboards mini Segways, smartwatches, drones, and smartphones caused GoPro’s drop in sales in 2015 and GoPro will see similar, albeit not as sharp, a decline in sales moving forward at the hand of VR platforms.

First, we need to address the price differences between GoPro and VR systems. I’d argue that VR buyers are (or will be) borderline high-end whereas GoPro’s pricepoints reach a larger consumer base at mid-range pricing. GoPro starts at $199.99 with the most expensive camera being $499.99. While the cheapest VR system is PlayStation VR (PSVR) at $399.99, if you have a system, otherwise you’re talking $750. Other head-mounted displays (HMD) require fairly high-end PCs with expensive GPUs, as such the top end would be over $2,500. Is it correct to assume that the same buyer (GoPro, more than just cameras) willing to spending $200-$500 on a GoPro, is going to spend $750 to $2,500 on a VR system?

Is it correct to assume that the same buyer willing to spending $200-$500 on a GoPro is going to spend $750 to $2,500 on a VR system?

Secondly, is it true that mostly young male gamers buy GoPros, hoverboards mini Segways, smartwatches, drones, and smartphones? I’m not a gamer, and I recently purchased a smartphone and a GoPro. It seems like hoverboards don’t discriminate when it comes to who’s falling off of them – what I’m saying is that all types of people bought the cited products. I know, that’s all very anecdotal, and I agree with Rick Munarriz to some extent. Yes, VR will eat away at a  portion of gamers wallets which will mean fewer gamers buying other things, to include GoPros. My argument would be that GoPro’s customers aren’t significantly gamers, and if they were, their pockets aren’t as deep as VR enthusiasts. I’d argue that the decline in sales in 2015 was more a function of the life cycle and quality of their product than the aforementioned gadgets. GoPros are built to last, and the general consumer will be happy with their specs for awhile.

Lastly, the VR industry isn’t only comprised of  HMDs and games. VR’s momentum is underpinned by its applications outside of gaming. A large portion being non-gaming content, particularly 360 video (You know how I feel about #RealityShifting ). Just like GoPro’s ability to reach amateur filmmakers, extreme sports junkies, and professional videographers alike they will once again, prove to be the path of least resistance for individuals and companies breaking into 360 video. Consider a production company that has a dozen or so GoPro’s sitting around. They can purchase rigs to tether cameras to record 360 video for post-production or live streaming. They will likely only need a couple more cameras to have a full rig (depending on their application), the alternative is a built for professions setup that could run you $60,000 for one rig.

Although The Motley Fool’s use of “Nail in GoPro’s Coffin” sound rather permanent, upon further analysis I think that we would both agree that GoPro’s short-term outlook is tricky; however VR has less to do with their slowing sales than their own product development.

Read and comment. Will VR kick GoPro to the curb?

Will Virtual Reality Be the Next Nail in GoPro’s Coffin?The Motley Fool

And just for fun here are some hoverboards mini Segways fails. Enjoy.



GoPro to feal the Virtual Reality Pain? Not so Fast.
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