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VR headsets will be mainstream by 2020

HTC Vive Pre

Over 200 million virtual reality headsets are expected to be snapped up by consumers before the end of the decade.

And, according to a new Tractica report, by 2020, 76.7 million devices will be shipping every year, with gaming leading the way.

"The second coming of virtual reality is upon us, and industry participants are keen to ensure that products are fine-tuned prior to release in order to avoid a disappointment in this high-potential new category," says principal analyst Craig Foster.

Over the same period a huge market for accessories is expected to develop with gamepads and controllers contributing to a forecast 52.2 million shipments over the next four years.

"Content is being slowly pushed out and we are seeing a number of games being developed especially for VR. Some publishers have embraced the new medium is its entirety, while others are watching the space cautiously to determine the appropriate level of investment," said Foster.

After a year of media hype, the first truly gaming-focused headsets from Oculus VR, HTC and Sony are set to go on sale and each is expected to demand a heavy premium. However, at the other end of the market, devices like the sub $200 Galaxy VR headset from Samsung and essentially free-of-charge Google Cardboard are giving everyone a chance to sample the technology's capabilities.