While virtual reality (VR) is not a new technology in concept and can trace its origins back to the 1950s, the past few years have witnessed a golden era of investment and product development in the sector, and highly-capable head-mounted displays (HMDs) are now on the verge of commercial deployment. VR offerings from Oculus, HTC, and Sony took the recent CES show by storm and are some of the most hotly anticipated new consumer technology products of 2016. Hardware and content companies alike are banking on strong consumer interest in VR over the next several years, driven in large part by gaming applications.
According to a recent report from Tractica, cumulative worldwide sales of VR head-mounted displays will reach 200.1 million units during the period from 2015 through 2020. By the end of that period, HMD shipments are forecast to reach 76.7 million units annually. The market intelligence firm also forecasts that an additional 52.2 million VR accessory devices will be shipped during the same timeframe, with such products including gamepads and VR-specific controllers, hand tracking devices, locomotion devices, and VR vests and suits.
“The second coming of virtual reality is upon us, and industry participants are keen to ensure that products are fine-tuned prior to release in order to avoid a disappointment in this high-potential new category,” says principal analyst Craig Foster. “Content is being slowly pushed out and we are seeing a number of games being developed especially for VR. Some publishers have embraced the new medium is its entirety, while others are watching the space cautiously to determine the appropriate level of investment.”
Tractica’s report, “Virtual Reality for Consumer Markets”, provides a comprehensive analysis of the market dynamics, technology issues, and competitive landscape for consumer VR hardware and content. The report features global market forecasts for annual unit shipments and associated revenue during the period from 2014 through 2020. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.