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VR Market Still Set for ‘Modest’ Growth in ‘17

Global revenue for the budding virtual reality market looks to be in relative lockstep with consumer uptick of the emerging platform: both are creeping along.

A new forecast from Greenlight Insights, in partnership with Road to VR, predicts “modest” growth for the virtual-reality sector in the short term, hitting $7.2 billion in global revenues this year, of which $4.7 billion, or 65.4%, will be tied to head-mounted displays. That compares to 11.9% for VR consumer content, and 11.6% for VR cameras.

However, the tide will turn in the years ahead, as VR morphs into a “major global marketplace” by 2021, when global VR revenues will eclipse $74.8 billion, given in part by increased spending by the enterprise sector, poised to become the largest part of the VR industry, and the “location-based entertainment” industry, which centers on the use of VR headsets with motion simulators and dedicated VR facilities.

VR hardware, such as headsets and cameras, is expected to account for about 63%, or $47.4 billion, of the revenue pie in 2021.

Initial sales of some high-end virtual-reality platforms “didn’t quite live up to the hype” in 2016, according to Greenlight Insights CEO Clifton Dawson, who pointed out that platforms such as Play- Station VR, which connects to PlayStation 4 consoles, and the mobile-focused Samsung Gear VR are gaining traction.

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At last check, more than 5 million Samsung Gear VR headsets, powered by Oculus’s platform, have been shipped.

Looking ahead, the research firm expects new VR headsets powered by Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system to spark demand in the enterprise sector, leading to a surge in VR-related hardware, software and services.

Greenlight Insights based its study on data for 47 subcategory forecasts that are rolled into nine top-level categories: Head-Mounted Displays, VR Cameras, Other Hardware, Consumer Content, Location-Based VR, Advertising, Enterprise Content, Software and Services.