Technology companies, industry watchers and market analysts are getting increasingly bullish on virtual and augmented reality. With growth in the smartphone industry starting to show signs of stagnation in some major markets, and the tablet and PC markets actually showing de-growth for several quarters now, tech-companies are starting to bet big on virtual and augmented reality as the next big frontier in consumer tech, along with smart home automation products, as part of the IoT. Most observers believe that VR is poised to revolutionize and redefine immersive entertainment in the not-so-distant future. While the technology itself has been around for decades, it is only now that it has started to percolate down to the consciousness of mainstream consumers, what with a number of well-known names like Sony and Facebook slated to bring their VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) products on the market.
It is in this background of cautious optimism within the industry, that Business Insider has come out with a new report which attempts to dissect the virtual reality market, while it takes its first tentative steps to graduate from a fledgling industry more attuned to sci-fi fans than regular mainstream consumers. The report also claims that more than the hardware, it will be the content available on a particular platform that will decide who will walk away with the honors at the end of the day, now that a number of large and well-known companies from around the world are burning their midnight oil, trying to come up with the one killer product which will not just kick start mainstream adoption of the technology, but give them the first-mover advantage in an industry expected to become a highly competitive one sooner rather than later.
Business Insider believes that gaming will be the single biggest driver for the adoption of VR headsets and the 1.2 billion gamers worldwide on various platforms will be the ones mainly targeted by the manufacturers. However, e-commerce, travel, advertising, social networking and streaming 3D content over the net and the Internet of Things will also ostensibly aid the adoption of VR in the years to come. Advertisers especially might be delighted to know that Business Insider believes ads on VR headsets are likely to be actually viewed by users rather than just getting skipped, as is the norm usually. The report also expects the sector to grow exponentially over the next five years, fuelled mostly by the increasing affordability of VR headsets.
Amidst all the optimism surrounding the industry going forward, Business Insider however, also puts in a word of caution for everybody looking to join the impending gold rush. The report says that the industry might face severe obstacles in its efforts to introduce virtual reality devices into the mainstream unless the experience is good enough in the first place. Getting a dedicated user-base would be of paramount importance for manufacturers, as without that, most developers would not be willing to invest resources, which could detract from established revenue sources like mobile, console and PC gaming.