Just How Big is VR as an Industry? 10 Figures

by VideoCoin | August 27, 2018

Just how big is VR as an industry? Virtual reality seeks to create a realistic virtual world experience in which users can interact. The goal is to be so realistic that users cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is artificial. Also called, “immersive multimedia” and a “virtual environment,” this technology uses specific types of hardware and software to create a sensory experience that includes sight, touch, and hearing, and can even incorporate taste and smell.

How big is VR? Big is a relative term, defined differently by the vagaries of the user. VR industry stats can draw a broad picture, but do they accurately depict the large impact virtual reality will have on our world?

Palmer Luckey, inventor of the Oculus Rift, one of several co-founders of Oculus VR, whose $2 billion sale to Facebook in 2014 sparked loads of new investment in VR, said this: “Any real virtual reality enthusiast can look back at VR science fiction. It’s not about playing games… ‘The Matrix,’ ‘Snow Crash,’ all this fiction was not about sitting in a room playing video games. It’s about being in a parallel digital world that exists alongside our own, communicating with other people, playing with other people.”

Interestingly, he also said, “Virtual reality is inevitably going to become mainstream it’s only a question of how good it needs to be before the mainstream is willing to use it.”

How Big is VR?

The earliest working prototype of a VR device came with the Sensorama in 1957, designed and created by filmmaker Morton Heilig. Although never entering production, Heilig envisioned users enjoying a fully immersive 3D world with stereo sound, odors, even wind effects. He also patented the first head-mounted VR display in 1960.

These and other early attempts at creating technology that produced virtual reality experiences were far ahead of their time, only lacking today’s computer processing, visual effects, and high-speed bandwidth to become usable devices. In fact, we owe the VR pioneers a great debt for boldly innovating far into their future, one in which we now live.

Imagine their reaction to the level of investment and innovation VR enjoys today. Although VR industry stats show what Venturebeat.com termed a “VR winter” following an initial frenzy of investment after Facebook acquired Oculus, 2018 fast became the year where VR has really captured the imagination of the mainstream.

Oddly enough, the gaming industry, in which most initially thought VR would really break out, has significantly cooled. However, Katie Stern, general manager of the Game Developers Conference, said, “”What we’re seeing in VR … is other applications. We’re seeing it get more traction in things like training, or education-based things, healthcare has taken to it pretty well. So I think in [those spaces] we’ll see more growth in that area than we will in the entertainment and games spaces.”

This was also predicted by VRFocus’ State of Immersive Reality in 2018 report. After highlighting some past rumbles in the industry, the report pontificated that “2018 is set to be an interesting year, building on the successes of last year.” It goes on to point out the significant potential for VR in areas such as filmmaking, education and training, marketing, e-commerce and retail, and medical applications.

Here are some examples of how that prediction has come true in various industries:

VR Industry Stats

How big is VR? For those of you who want “just the facts, ma’am,” here’s a list of facts and figures from which you can build your own image of size and complexity.

  1. Technical financial adviser Digi-Capital forecasts the VR market to reach $10 billion to $15 billion revenue by 2022.
  2. According to research by Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research, 64% of Baby Boomers have positive feelings about virtual reality.
  3. In 2016, $3.7 billion in global revenue was generated from selling virtual reality software and hardware.
  4. American awareness of virtual reality and augmented reality devices nearly doubled between 2016 and 2017.
  5. A recent study found that 69% of U.S. males intend to purchase a VR or AR device, compared to only 31% of females.
  6. A 2017 study surveyed top executives in the virtual reality industry and found that 77% agree that VR technology will impact the gaming industry more than any other industry between 2017 and 2020. Next will be education at 36%, then architecture at 27%.
  7. Over 3 million users currently subscribe to the YouTube 360 Virtual Reality Channel.
  8. Sony sold over 1 million Playstation VR headsets in only 9 months.
  9. VR content may need up to 20 times more storage space than an HD video.
  10. VR requires substantially more bandwidth than standard kinds of video, up to 6 gigabytes of bandwidth per second.

What do these VR industry stats show? Interest, investment, and innovation concerning VR technology are all on the rise in significant ways and across major industries. As these continue to increase, solutions for increased data storage, computing, and transmission speed are being developed that will pave the way for VR’s bright future.

VideoCoin is one of those solutions that provides peer-to-peer management for recording, storing, and streaming video, including VR. Explore the options we offer today.


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