Virtual reality (VR) is one of the greatest new developments in gaming in quite some time. While not strictly a new development, its new arrival in homes will create a huge new market. Tractica took a look at the market to come and made some staggering projections about just how popular it will be, starting with a projection of over 200 million head-mounted display units to be sold just between 2015 and 2020.
It gets better from there; at the end of that five-year run, shipments will reach around 76.7 million units annually, and an additional 52.2 million accessory devices—ranging from controllers, hand tracking systems, and complete vest and suit units—will also come along. It's been regarded as the “second coming of virtual reality” by no less than Tractica principal analyst Craig Foster, and Foster further notes that content for such platforms is also following.
While not everyone is investing at the same level, with Foster noting that some firms are taking more of a wait-and-see approach before laying in investment, it's clear that there's plenty of investment overall and a major market in the making. Firms ranging from Sony to Facebook (News - Alert) are chipping in new developments here, and with all those firms chipping in product, the numbers Tractica's “Virtual Reality for Consumer Markets” report generated make a particular sense.
Virtual reality isn't new; it's been on hand one way or another since the early 1990s on a commercial level. I still remember my first time around a Dactyl Nightmare system out at the Mall of America. The idea that such a system could be brought home for less than several thousand dollars was a pipe dream to the young man stalking strangers in that polygon-heavy world, and now, here it is. The size of the market is potentially massive, and will likely continue to be so for some time. Throw in the potential productivity enhancements, as well as the number of things VR could be a replacement good for—a point that got even Mark Zuckerberg (News - Alert) interested—and the end result could be huge. Consider a world where tourism is at least partially replaced by virtual reality. Consider a world where office space is completely virtually generated, or where entertainment venues resell the best seat in the house thousands of times over to the VR crowd. All of this is possible, and when put to use, it could mean massive gains for a VR market.
The earliest adopters are poised to start enjoying systems now, and as prices drop and quality improves—as a market that isn't dying outright inevitably features—the overall size of the market will likely swell too.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere
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