New forecasts suggest the VR industry will grow over 30 times by 2020

HTC Vive Review 5

Virtual and augmented reality platforms are just starting to blow up in 2016, but new research suggests that the market will be much, much larger by 2020.

In a recent study by Ovum, it was projected that the market is set to increase by more than 30 times over the next 4 years. Currently, the market is still very new, and only valued at $5 billion in revenue. By 2020, projected revenue is set to reach over $162 billion, profoundly revolutionizing the ways in which we interact with virtual and augmented reality experiences. VR has already begun to revolutionize a number of industries, and should completely change the way we work and live in the future.

As Tom Mainelli, VP of devices and AR/VR at IDC puts it:

The rise of new, less expensive hardware will put virtual and augmented reality technology within the grasp of a growing number of companies and individuals. In the coming years, we expect developers to create a wide range of new experiences for these devices that will fundamentally change the way many of us do work.

While initial revenue streams have been largely sourced from the Asia Pacific, the United States are projected to take over a large portion of sales in the coming years. As mobile platforms begin to become more and more viable for virtual experiences, simplistic viewports such as Google Cardboard have been becoming much more common, and have already made their way into company marketing campaigns. Since mobile platforms are becoming so accessible to so many people, 65% of virtual experiences are said to take in the mobile realm in 2020. This will likely be by way of a combination of devices including Google Daydream headsets, Gear VR, Cardboard, and other future mobile headsets.

Chris Chute, VP of customer insights and analysis at IDC, explains how smartphone-based experiences will revolutionize virtual and augmented reality in the coming years. “Now with powerful smartphones powering inexpensive VR headsets, the consumer market is primed for new paid and user generated content-driven experiences. Recent developments in healthcare demonstrated the powerful impact augmented reality headsets can have at the industry level, and over the next five years we expect to see that promise become realized in other fields like education, logistics, and manufacturing.”

While there are an outstanding number of developers looking to get in on the action by creating new applications for the platform, hardware is supposedly going to account for 50% of this revenue. Since the technology is still so new, there will be thousands of people investing in physical headsets as the platform matures. These headsets will likely be optimized over time to work for very specific jobs and simulations, meaning new virtual reality hardware will most certainly be produced on a consistent basis.

Though it’s still very early for the virtual reality industry, there is no doubt it will play an overwhelmingly major part in our lives in the coming years. Are you excited?

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