US market research company IDC (International Data Corporation) has identified that virtual reality would generate $2.3 billion in revenue this year in the global market.
While VR has driven much of the recent hype, primarily with consumers and in a gaming context, AR will experience more rapid growth as a result of business adoption. Augmented reality blends the real world with the digital world and has the potential to change how humans interact with machines and related software. Recent product announcments indicate this technology is approaching market readiness beyond early adopters.
IDC has identified three major device categories across the Augmented and Virtual Reality markets. They include: Screenless viewers that use the screen of specific smartphones to drive an AR/VR experience (example: Samsung Gear VR); Tethered Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) that utilize an existing compute device such as a PC, game console, or even a smartphone to drive a head-worn display (example: Oculus Rift); and Standalone HMDs that integrate processing within the head-worn display itself (example: Microsoft HoloLens). IDC is specifically not forecasting Google Cardboard-based products in its totals, nor any other viewer accessory that lacks electronics.
IDC predicted in its report that Samsung, Sony, HTC and Oculus’ efforts on virtual reality would push the sales of the devices up to 9.6 million units by 2016. “In 2016, virtual reality will catapult into the spotlight with major launches from Oculus, HTC/Valve, and Sony building on the early momentum created by Samsung’s first smartphone-based product,” Tom Mainelli, IDC vice president for devices and displays, said in the report.
He also added, “When you combine this with robust shipments of screenless viewers from Samsung and other vendors launching later this year, you start to see the beginning of a reasonable installed base for content creators to target.” The news report said, the companies rolling out new virtual reality games will see their sales rise up mainly on VR headsets especially during holiday seasons. IDC also predicted that the around 64 million units of virtual reality hardware devices will be shipped around the global market by 2020.