Virtual Reality

Report: Virtual Reality Shipments to Rocket up 2,400 Percent This Year

Shipments of virtual reality devices will expand by more than 2,400 percent this year according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. (IDC). Screenless viewers will grab the largest market share, according to the research company, at 74 percent.

"Virtual reality (VR) is an increasingly hot topic at technology events, government meetings and consumer entertainment events, injecting a boost of much needed excitement into consumer IT and business applications markets," said Neo Zheng, research manager, client system research, IDC China, in a prepared statement.

Areas to watch within the virtual reality ecosystem include components, devices, platforms and content, according to IDC.

Regarding components, "chip manufacturers have been making deployments in the PC chip market to be better compatible with high-end VR devices," according to information released by IDC. "On the other hand, competition in the Standalone HMD (head-mounted display) market has intensified, with Intel, Qualcomm, Allwinner and Spreadtrum having introduced their mobile VR solutions. The evolution of the Chinese standalone HMD market will have an impact on the global VR market landscape."

Oculus, HTC and Sony, the leading three VR device manufacturers, launched 2016 products as smartphone manufacturers "set their sights on the screenless viewer market" and the recent entry of standalone devices increased competition.

Although device manufacturers tend to have their own application platforms, according to IDC, the development of cloud-computing, big data applications and platform service providers entering the marketplace will lead to content centralization and risks for fragmented app stores.

"While small game studios have released various VR games, large game developers have largely adopted a 'wait and see' attitude, with blockbuster VR games yet to appear," according to a news release. "iQIYI and Youku have released their VR video platforms and related strategies, making first moves to capture emerging video content market opportunities. Overall, VR content is relatively scarce but growing rapidly."

"What started as a great concept, VR is quickly becoming reality for consumer and business applications. With the participation of major global manufacturers, the VR market is set to enjoy rapid growth in the second half of 2016," added Zheng. "This results in upstream and downstream benefits, with VR chip/screen suppliers providing more specially designed components and video game developers offering more VR content. We expect the VR ecosystem and user demands to dramatically change in the coming years."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].