According to the latest figures from ABI Research, virtual reality (VR) technology looks set to gain widespread adoption over the next five years, reaching an installed base of 256 million users worldwide and generating revenues of over US$60 billion in 2022. While the consumer market is expected to account for most of the market’s revenue, the commercial and enterprise space will expand its share reaching over 40% of the market by 2022, up from 26% in 2015.
“Content availability remains an issue, but healthy strides were made in the past year, particularly in Asia-Pacific and China with location based VR. Further trials and launches will accelerate the adoption of immersive content across the market and expand the use of VR as a tool for training, design, preparatory work and planning,” says Michael Inouye, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “While the consumer space often garners the largest share of attention the market potential is much wider and we’ve already seen very promising interest in verticals like Retail, Healthcare, Automotive, Education, and Real Estate / Architecture / Engineering / Construction.”
VR experiences still range quite widely from more basic seated/standing mobile HMD configurations to dedicated location based VR installations and VR arcades that allow for 6DOF or room-scale experiences. The rise of wireless HMDs, standalone VR, and 6DOF mobile VR will help narrow the gaps between these different classes of experiences. Additionally, further technology advancements/introductions are on the horizon like eye tracking, foveated rendering, and increasingly higher resolution screens.
Sam Rosen, Managing Director and VP at ABI Research, concluded, “We continue to view VR as a long-term market proposition, a technology that will really start to show its true transformative capabilities five plus years from now. In addition, while we currently see clear delineations between AR and VR today and into the near future. We expect these lines of demarcation to begin fading as the technologies increasingly reach maturity and saturation, perhaps then becoming better suited to the mixed and merged reality monikers that some use today.”