A quick look at the smartphone and game markets reveals a trend: nearly every company producing software and hardware in these spaces offers a VR device or support for one (or both).
VR has been hyped since it was revealed at E3 a few years back and this year, interested parties finally had some devices to play with. Samsung launched its VR-focussed Galaxy S7, LG followed suit with its headset for the G5 and Sony, Oculus and HTC have the PSVR, Rift and HTC’s Vive in the pipeline respectively.
[ED – We have tried HTC’s Vive, and Charlie’s experience was mixed.]
If you needed any more proof that virtual reality and its associated headsets are big money spinners for anybody involved, a recent report by the IDC predicts that the industry should generate hardware revenues of approximately $2.3 billion – this year alone, totalling about 9.3 million units.
Augmented Reality (AR) is not far behind. It is predicted that in the next four years, around 110 million hardware units will be out in the wild that will be capable of VR and AR.
“While VR will drive nearly all of the hardware volume in 2016, Augmented Reality (AR) hardware is forecast to ramp up over the next few years. According to the first worldwide AR/VR forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), the combined device markets will see hardware shipments surge past 110 million units in 2020,” the report states.
This year will see the first big push into VR, and IDC predicts that it will ship as many as two million units this year.
“In 2016, the first major VR Tethered Head Mounted Displays (HMD) from Oculus, HTC, and Sony should drive combined shipments of over 2 million units. When you combine this with robust shipments of screenless viewers from Samsung and other vendors launching later this year, you start to see the beginning of a reasonable installed base for content creators to target,” said Tom Mainelli, vice president for Devices & Displays at IDC.
According to the research firm, the biggest driver of VR and AR will be the gaming industry, with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR set to commercially launch this year.