Potential. Growth. Expansion. Mainstream.
Good, dependable words that can justly describe the future of Virtual Reality.
So when PwC projects there will be over 55m active VR headsets in the US by 2022, you have to sit up and take notice. This prediction, which appeared in the PwC annual report on global media and entertainment wasn’t made lightly. They never are.
So let’s give this latest one some context.
It’s as many headsets as there were paying Netflix members in the US at the end of March. Not only that, but VR revenue is expected to rise from $414 million in the US in 2016 to $7.2 billion by 2022.
Globally, that growth rate is expected to top 40%.
But what will drive this fair spectacular rise in usage and revenue? Put simply, content and hardware – the two key elements that make up VR.
Ben Smith, CEO of Laduma, explains: “Come 2022 or 2023, we may well see VR being delivered by a pair of glasses and I think once we get to that position, we’ll see it become much easier for people to get into it and not be worried about how they look.
“I think that will be when we see this public tipping point that people talk so much about.”
See? Hardware is absolutely crucial to the expansion of VR.
Mike Santiago, VP of Business Development at Laduma, expects content could also make a big difference over the next four years: “The way to get VR mainstream is for it to be part of people’s daily rituals, in the same way we check Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter.
“If you have a reason like that for large quantities of people not to want to miss out, if you have a good use and good experience in a headset, I think that will be driver for bigger adoption.”
Alex Kunawicz, VP of Strategy at Laduma, believes design and content will remain important in the near future: “I think as headset design is more developed and refined, making it easier for people to access the content, then that is really going to drive numbers.
“These numbers (from PwC) are really encouraging, in terms of people buying headsets. But we have to give people a reason to keep going back and using these headsets, buying more innovative headsets and creating different, more interesting content.”
So as our experts predict, it’s likely to be a combination of headsets and content that will, over time, bring VR into the mainstream.
At one point in time, even Netflix was one for the future.