This week marks the launch of Google’s Daydream, the platform that has evolved out of their Cardboard experiment they had been running for a few years now, and while not everyone will be that impressed with Daydream, the level of polish and “complete” feel the new hardware has shows off a growing trend in the mobile space, one that appears to only be on the up-and-up. More and more people are turning on to the idea of mobile virtual reality, with platforms such as Gear VR and now Daydream offering more and more content and great experiences it’s no surprise that there will be more people than ever in possession of a mobile virtual reality headset by 2021.
According to Juniper Research, the amount of virtual reality headsets designed for use with a smartphone will balloon by 241 percent by 2021 to reach a massive 60 Million headsets, an increase from the 17 Million set to ship this year in total. 60 Million headsets doesn’t sound like a massive amount by 2021, but considering that this is a technology that is still very niche and often considered something for those with a lot of disposable income, that sort of increase is more or less in line with what most people think right now. Part of the reason why Juniper Research sees such an increase happening over the next few years is of course down to the ever-falling price of mobile headsets. The Daydream View, for instance, costs less than $80 and includes a new controller to make the overall experience more appealing. However, these lower prices will mean that despite more units sold, these 60 Million headsets will only account for 7 percent revenue of the overall market.
One question that still surrounds mobile VR is of course how developers and publishers can make money from it, and the Juniper Research goes on to point out that the ” best opportunity for smartphone VR is in providing subscription media, from film and series streaming to news broadcasts, to supplement existing online services.” Of course, whether or not we see big houses from Hollywood and traditional news media take on virtual reality remains to be seen, but names like The New York Times and National Geographic have been more than willing to experiment with VR so far, which could spell good news for the rest of the industry.