Virtual Reality – Separating Fact from Fiction
A 19 year old boy named Palmer Luckey made a stir in the global market in 2012 with a Virtual Reality Kickstarter campaign. It literally awakened market movers like Facebook, Google, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Intel and AMD to explore the potential of this new technology.
The vision he saw for the 21st century proved to be worth more than $250,000. But could a boy capable of seeing such an awesome vision rest satisfied with pocketing $2.5 million? Indeed, a lot more than money was involved. It began to change the world for better. Gaming industry was just a beginning. Soon it became clear that it is going to disrupt entertainment, social networking, and several other markets.
Even Zuckerberg couldn’t help himself being swayed by virtual reality. The result was the acquisition of Oculus for whopping $2.2 billion by Facebook. This happened two years after the revolutionary Kickstarter campaign. To quote Zuckerberg himself: “We’re making a long-term bet that immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become part of people’s daily life.” And if this is the statement made by Zuckerberg, then it’s bound to find echo in the audience, which is susceptible to innovative ideas. In addition, such predictions as Virtual Reality generating $30 billion by 2020 only reinforced the conviction of the futuristic generation.
However, this new technology will take at least a year or two before becoming part of our life. The launch of headsets one after another in a short period of time is an indicator of the progress it is already making. It has made CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and Wired busy reporting about it. Even South Park has to take it into consideration. Many businesses are reported to have already started investing in Virtual Reality.
But what’s the reality of this market? This article is intended to put you in the know of the facts regarding Virtual Reality.
The research report for the month of July by Greenlight Virtual Reality throws revealing light on the actual state of Virtual Reality industry, taking in its sweep the rapid growth of this technology, the investment it has attracted and the whole world of opportunities it has opened up.
Rapid Growth of the Virtual Reality Industry
Since the year 2012, the businesses of which revenue was largely derived from the sale of Virtual Reality/Virtual Reality-based products and services have shown an increase in number up to 250%. Significantly, this has happened during the same period of time in which the Kickstarter was launched.
Young Virtual Reality Startups
According to one report, more than 25% Virtual Reality startups are less than a year old and approximately half of the companies don’t have more than a year of experience. What this statistics denote is that the businesses are like babies with regard to this technology.
However, this should not put the entrepreneurs off the market that has tremendous potential.
It’s true; Virtual Reality has gone global. Out of 100%, 51% of the companies belong to the US alone; whereas the remaining 49% are located in countries across 6 continents.
Outside the US, especially in the UK and Canada there’s detected a lot of promise thanks to the presence of highly talented developers and designers there. Other places where the growth of Virtual Reality professionals is witnessed include Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, China, Italy, Portugal, etc.
Venture Capital Investments
It is reported that the Virtual Reality businesses have attracted around $746 million worth of venture capital. This bears witness to the trust Virtual Reality has inspired in the investors. In the first half of 2015 alone, the investors have invested 50% more capital than was invested in the entire 2014. That bodes well for the industry.
Hope Accompanied by Caution
There is no dearth of venture capital in the market but only a part of it is reserved for Virtual Reality. The perceived tendency among some investors is not to put all their eggs into one basket. So, the funds specific for Virtual Reality are limited in extent. It means the investors are proceeding with caution in Virtual Reality market instead of taking a leap of faith, so to say.
Education, Healthcare and Social Networking
So far, it has been observed that most of the investment that is being made in Virtual Reality industry is in the field of game development. However, this field is highly competitive like architecture/3D visualization. There are other areas as well where Virtual Reality can prove extremely helpful. These include education, healthcare and social networking. These can experience the same kind of disrupting influence of Virtual Reality that the gaming industry already has. Virtual Reality enterprises in the areas mentioned above need to be adequately funded.
Distribution platforms:These are the places where customers can view various Virtual Reality products and download and buy them. Right now, Oculus Share and Youtube are dominating these activities.
Accessories: These include the peripherals (cave, treadmill, wearable, etc) supplied with Virtual Reality headsets. The businesses leading this market are Virtuix Omni, Sixence and The Void.
Camera and related equipment: Products of Go Pro constitute the best bet at present in this field.
Editing software: These are meant for editing both Virtual Reality audio/video productions. Kolor’s offering in this respect is quite remarkable.
Headsets and their accessories: The companies which are leading the market of the Virtual Reality headset and other gadgets related to them include Oculus Rift, Gear Virtual Reality and Cardboard.
Engines: This technology is in place for enabling Virtual Reality input. This is done through 3D and processing engines. Intel and Unity are the best options available to Virtual Reality users.
Institutions for promoting much needed research work in Virtual Reality: The Stanford University is the best.
Media projection: This is extremely necessary for drawing people’s attention to this new technology through news, interviews, podcasts, etc. Upload Virtual Reality is doing good work in this regard.
Cinematic Virtual Reality productions: Blue 44 Productions and Innerspace are undoubtedly the best of the set involved on it.
Game developments: The major players in this field include Epic Games and Harmonix.
Healthcare products: These include various kinds of wearables put out by a number of companies for tracking the health-related details of the wearers. The one designed by DeepstreamVirtual Reality is recommended.
Social networking solutions: These are meant for facilitating one-to-one communication possible in social networking. Altspace Virtual Reality is good to go if that’s what you are looking for.
Entertainment: This includes producing content regarding sports and music, which come either pre-recorded or live. Jaunt and Fox Sports could be the best choice here.
Enterprise: There are Virtual Reality businesses meant for assisting businesses such as architecture, real estate, building up financial prototypes, marketing, etc. The eminent companies working in these areas are Digitas, Patron, Mountain Dew and Arch Virtual.
Education: The best program available to the users is Google’s Expeditions.
Journalism: This has to do with production of news, documentaries, and other aspects of journalism. The company leading this market is Virtual RealitySE.