In its first ecosystem tracker for the virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video markets, ABI Research finds that there are already more than 460 companies operating in the space worldwide, with this number expected to climb. Broad market appeal for both the consumer and enterprise sectors will see the global market exceed $60 billion by 2021, with it continuing to attract a wide variety of players. Applications, software, and content distribution along with core technology represent the most common business model, accounting for over 60% of the companies in the list—roughly split evenly between the two business types.
“VR is not 3D,” says Michael Inouye, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “With first-generation hardware sales lower than expected, some industry professionals suggest parallels between VR and 3D, but the wealth of companies active in this space and deep-seeded belief in VR stand in marked contrast to the short-lived heyday of 3D. While most companies engaging with VR live in the entertainment realm, other segments like real-estate/construction/architecture, marketing/sponsorships, healthcare, and training also represent huge opportunity in these early years.”
Among the VR and 360 video companies targeting specific markets, media and entertainment represents 35% of companies, while retail, commerce, and marketing is the focus of just over 10% of companies— healthcare, education, architecture/engineering/construction/real-estate, and video all individually represent at least 6% of the company list.
Content remains a limiting factor, but soon VR and 360-degree video content from gaming to user-generated content will become commonplace, supporting a range of VR hardware from mobile-reliant, like Google Cardboard, to high-end tethered and standalone. The diversity of companies participating in the market is extensive, from hardware and content providers front and center in the public eye to companies like Intel, Qualcomm, Technicolor, and Verizon that are working further behind the scenes to help power the devices and experiences coming today and into the future.
“This race isn’t a sprint,” concludes Sam Rosen, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research. “Even though we expect growth to come on strong in the coming years, we need to think long term. The growing list of companies is indicative of a market primed for growth, but eventually consolidation will occur as the market reaches higher levels of maturation. Along the way, there will certainly be bumps in the road, but VR and 360-degree video are on the right path toward living up to early lofty expectations.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s Virtual Reality SI and VAR Market Tracker report.
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