In this research report ABI Research examines and forecasts the expected spread of VR devices by platform. While the early years of the current VR market have not been marked by significant fragmentation, platforms in each of the VR segments (tethered, standalone, and mobile) still compete for market share, including separate application stores. Most consumers and commercial end users, however, have generally had minimal issues finding alignment with products and services (limited content aside). Content developers as well have generally voiced limited issues navigating the various platforms, with most decisions falling on the needs of the end user/application; for instance designing user experiences that are best suited to 3DOF or 6DOF movement.
Some differentiation and separation has occurred through directed efforts by a manufacturer to target markets like enterprise (e.g. HTC) or supporting a more predictable/homogenous installed base of devices (e.g. Samsung Gear VR). The introduction of new platforms (e.g. Windows MR) and products (e.g. standalone VR) however will quickly ramp up the array of device choices and platforms. In an effort to mitigate future issues with fragmentations organizations like the Khronos Group (OpenXR) and IEEE are working to establish some levels of standardization. When and if these standards take effect the end differentiator may once again reside on user experience (e.g. 3DOF/6DOF) and the application stores – particularly if content exclusivity becomes more common.
ABI Research anticipates the current incumbents today will largely remain the primary platforms through 2022, with Google due to its massive base of Android users continuing to hold the largest share of the market. In addition the development of standalone VR devices will be a critical element for the market to further develop as expected. With standardization application stores are anticipated to help serve as a key differentiator; although this will likely impact the consumer space more than enterprise which is more dependent on the specific range of applications than wider access to applications within the various app stores.