Virtual Reality: Ripe For Digital Disruption

Amongst the many new innovations today, virtual reality is beginning to ripen, with predictions projecting the industry will be “a billion dollar niche” in the coming years. Deloitte Global’s research mentioned that its hardware sales will account for $700 million in profit, while the remainder will come from VR content.

Experts said that 2016 will be the year VR will experience a digital disruption, where commercial activity (particularly focus on video games) will be seen focusing on the technology, its usage, and benefits. The same research company said that sales of VR headsets are projected to be about 2.5 million units and selling approximately 10 million games.

VR Video Game
Amongst the many industries that virtual reality can enhance, the video game industry appears to be highly affected by its growth. In fact, research revealed that the industry will generate $5.1 billion this year, where the global audience will grow by 55.8 million users and devices will increase production by 38.9 million.

The growth and maturity of smartphone users has led to the warm adoption of the mobile virtual reality market. Premium smartphones have been the main processing power behind many VR gadgets today where hardware such as Google Cardboard has seen growth in usage by almost 80%.

“Western markets with large PC and console user bases will ignite device sales for the two platforms,” said Stephanie Llamas, director of research at SuperData. “American gamers interested in VR look most forward to console and PC devices. One-third intend to purchase a Playstation VR and 13% look to buy the Oculus Rift.”

Oculus Rift Acquisition
One of the biggest changes in the industry was Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift. Experts said that it was a gamble that made virtual reality, a reality, where the social media giant’s move led to more companies and industry experts looking at the possibility of the technology in enhancing, not only the gaming scene but also other industries (military, healthcare).

“Before [the acquisition] there were a few companies that believed in VR. And when I say a few, I mean a few,” said Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey. “After that [acquisition] happened, I think it was a signal to the rest of the industry that VR was here, this is gonna be a huge thing and if you didn’t invest in VR now you were gonna get your ass kicked down the line.”

Apart from Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear VR is another compelling “>virtual reality device that has seen it garner a great following. Last year, the accessory was reported by Amazon and Best Buy to be “temporarily out of stock” and “sold out online” respectively.

The company’s recent marketing tactic, bundling the VR headset with their newest smartphones (Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge) made the gaming peripheral and the handsets a must-have this year. They initially appeared together at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2016), where Samsung unveiled their latest flagship mobile devices, which came with all the new updates necessary for VR gaming. It comes with an expandable memory slot to 200GB, inbuilt cooling system to prevent overheating, wireless and fast charging, a bigger and better battery, and the capability to record your gameplay for tutorials.

Although Apple has remained mum regarding details on VR development, it is reported that they are aiming to produce a platform that will be able to compete with other Android VR devices on the market. As Google unveiled their more premium VR headset, the Daydream View, Apple is more determined and focused to release their own head-mounted display (HMD), according to industry experts.

The California-based tech firm has a number of patents that point to the HMD development, while their CEO Tim Cook has previously discussed the possibilities of augmented reality. Experts are hinting that the iPhone 8 will have a ‘killer feature’, which could actually be related to virtual reality. But, if you look closely, it seems Apple is already prepping their handsets to fit the requirements of running VR apps. The iPhone 7 was reported by O2 to come with dramatic improvements to provide an immersive experience, such as through their new stereo speakers that are 2x louder than on their previous models, rugged features (splash and water resistance), enhanced battery life, 25% brighter screen, and the most powerful processing chip ever in an iPhone. If the company is indeed working on a VR headset, then they are certainly on the right path.

With gaming peripherals like Oculus Rift and the Gear VR (and, even the arrival of Apple’s long-awaited VR device), , gamers are provided with more options to enjoy a truly immersive gaming experience.

Virtual reality is a great cutting-edge innovation, defining how technology is capable of enhancing the world today. As years pass, VR is expected to undergo further improvements in terms of processors, screen resolution, and content creation to provide a more seamless experience. However, recent breakthrough technologies related to devices being strapped or worn on users’ faces have not seen mass-market success yet. The industry may also want to improve upon the bulky peripherals to satisfy user demand in the future.