Virtual Reality is poised to get real, a new study from SuperData says. The market intelligence firm says that the total addressable market for virtual reality is forecast to reach 10.6 million consumers by 2016. In addition to Facebook’s acquisition, another 18 VR-focused companies received $590 million in investments. All told, that was $2.6 billion invested in VR during 2014, and this year we’ll start to see what that brings.
“Facebook has effectively revitalized the decades-old dream of virtual reality and triggered a frenzy of investments,” according to Joost van Dreunen, SuperData’s CEO. “Currently there are over 200 developers working on VR projects and we counted no less than 15 different hardware devices at varying stages of completion. We anticipate a first wave of PC-based devices to launch mid-2015.”
With full-length video still several years out, all eyes are turning towards game studios to provide the content that will popularize the new platform. Big market players have been placing bets, following Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift, and now companies like Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Google are trying figure out how to bring this technology to market. Most recently, Google announced a partnership with toymaker Mattel in an effort to develop virtual reality content for the children’s market.
“Traditional publishers of interactive entertainment simply cannot afford to just jump in at such an early stage of a new platform. It is financially far too risky for them. Small studios and independents, however, have an opportunity to make a name for themselves. The question everyone is looking to answer is “Who will be the Angry Birds for virtual reality devices ”” said van Dreunen.
The report, Virtual Reality Market Brief 2015, is part of a larger research effort by SuperData to map out the emerging market for playable media and games. “In recent years the way in which digital consumers engage with entertainment has changed dramatically. Interactive entertainment now incorporates many more devices, vastly more and different types of content and a host of on- and offline streaming events. And so we’ve started offering our customers a comprehensive overview of the entertainment market, including virtual reality, streaming media and eSports,” said van Dreunen.
Key findings of the report include:
- Virtual reality will reach 10.8 million users by the end of 2016E.
- Games make up three-quarters (76 percent) of all currently available VR content.
- Small studios and indie developers are best positioned as VR comes to market.
- In 2014 overall investments in virtual and augmented reality reached $2.6 billion.