The the virtual reality sector is expected to grow: from 90 million dollars sales worldide in 2014 already this year should grow to $ 2.3 billion, and reached 3.8 billion in 2016, the 4.6 billion in 2017 and 5.2 billion in 2018 (hardware and software sales estimates from Statista.com).
Even more important would be the numbers generated by the sale of hardware and software for augmented reality: for Digi-Capital you could even touch 150 billion dollars worldwide in 2020, of which most (120 billion) related to devices and software for augmented reality. This is of course estimates that serve to understand the trends that are now starting to take shape but which remain subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties.
About virtual reality, in particular, you can think that the development will cover more 3D games and movies and some niche application for the enterprise market (as the one that is starting to develop the American startup Envelop VR, which has just got $ 4 million in funding from Madrona Venture Group having already achieved its first $ 2 million last June by a group of angel investors), with a few tens of million users within the next five years when the prices of the devices will be completely aligned with those of the current video game consoles.
The augmented reality could instead have a growth altogether similar to that of current mobile devices, which will in part to cannibalize exactly as smartphones and tablets have cannibalized in turn the sale of fixed phones and personal computers. Most users of augmented reality could be linked to the sector of television and movie, but also applications for companies, advertising and the development of apps for social media like Facebook or Uber, rather than mobile videogames like Clash of Clans.
Among the remaining challenges are both technical (as the sense of sickness felt by many users using 3D viewers for virtual reality) and social aspects (privacy matters related to the use of Google Glasses has already talk a lot), but not only: by the time each of the major groups that have begun to invest in virtual reality is choosing a different approach.
Facebook with Oculus Rift has focused on virtual reality, for now neglecting augmented reality; Google with its Glasses and then with the acquisition of Magic Leap did exactly the opposite; Microsoft with Hololens, combinable even with virtual worlds like Minecraft, seems to want to take revenge on Apple; Apple itself for now did not move; Sony seems to mean Project Morpheus (now Playstation VR) as a way to extend the life of its games console rather than a real “disruptive” innovation. There will be room for everyone in the future or any of these giants will have to leave the game with broken bones?
Meanwhile space for everyone who wants to try to develop not only the hardware but content that give a motivation of use to potential users still seems very broad, for joy, among others, of Philip Rosedale and of Ebbe Altberg who continue to believe in virtual worlds and virtual reality in general. If you want to know how it will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and on Youtube).