- Juniper Research released a study that predicts spend on virtual reality hardware — such as headsets, peripherals, and 360 cameras — will surpass $50 billion by 2021, up from $5 billion in sales this year, according to a release. In July, CB Insights suggested that 2016 would be the immersive technology's first billion dollar year in terms of investor dollars.
- The 10x revenue increase is expected to come from VR adoption by smartphone users, and high unit prices from VR devices for PCs and consoles, including the upcoming launches of PlayStation VR and Microsoft’s Project Scorpio.
- According to Juniper, the VR revolution will be built around gaming, with mobile VR for smartphones remaining in a lower price tier and PC and console devices being more expensive.
After a long time sitting at the edge of mainstream, VR tech is poised to break out in a big way thanks to a broad appeal with gamers. Marketers concerned that this might be too niche an audience should instead focus on how to best utilize the sheer amount of hardware likely heading into consumer hands.
Virtual reality is a promising marketing tool given its completely immersive qualities, but has remained complicated and expensive to develop for. Over the next few years, hardware, software and cost should be better aligned and more accessible if the Juniper report is accurate.
One of the first marketing beneficiaries of VR has been B2B marketers who are able to offer immersive product demos not possible through whitepapers, webinars or video. On the consumer side, VR could be effective in marketing considered purchases for things like cars, homes or anything bought in the retail space.
And there's no shortage of devices to develop for: On top of established names like Oculus and Samsung, Google released its affordable Daydream VR headset Monday.
Even with VR's expected growth, augmented reality could be the better short-term bet, according to industry executives such as Apple's CEO Tim Cook. AR's potential was also demonstrated this year by success of Pokemon Go.