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Virtual Reality (VR) Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

Virtual Reality (VR) Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

  • November 2021
  • 186 pages
  • ID: 6184936
  • Format: PDF
  • Mordor Intelligence LLP


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The number of global virtual reality device shipments was 13.48 million units in 2020, and it is expected to reach a volume of 112.62 million units by 2026, registering a CAGR of 33.85% over the forecast period (2021–2026). The COVID-19 crisis impacted several VR tech companies. VR gaming centers were closed due to stay-at-home orders during the initial months of the pandemic. For instance, Sandbox was operating 10 VR centers in North America and Asia, which allowed groups of customers to step into virtual worlds. Apart from Sandbox, several operators of VR centers and arcades, including The Void, Zero Latency, Dreamscape, and Spaces, were forced to shut down their retail locations amid the pandemic and are facing major financial and logistical challenges post the brunt of the pandemic.

On the contrary, the consumer VR Virtual Reality Market witnessed a significant increase in adoption. Most people are investing in VR gaming as they aim to explore new frontiers in gaming technology during the lockdown. Many VR gaming providers, such as HTC Viveport, offer many features to make people stay at home and play instead of going out. For instance, Viveport Infinity’s annual subscription is at a 75% discount, decreasing from USD 107.88 per year to USD 27.

Key Highlights
Virtual Reality is the usage of computer technology, primarily to create a simulated environment. Unlike the traditional user interface, VR places the user inside an experience, which means instead of viewing a monitor screen in front of them, users are immersed and are able to interact with the 3D world. With the simulation of as many senses as possible, such as vision, touch, hearing, even smell, technology has transformed across the world.
Moreover, across various educational fields, teachers have been increasingly turning to virtual reality technology to help provide a better standard of education. For example, on a basic level, the introduction of VR in the education sector enabled the students to be immersed in a VR tech world. The technology also gives students a more visual and absorbing lesson, which can be provided at lower costs.
Virtual reality technology carved its space within the gaming industry in the past few years. VR has given shape to a new generation of gaming that is giving the players immersive, first-person perspective experiences. In the past few years, developers, such as Oculus and HTC, worked toward making virtual reality more accessible and more affordable. Previously, Oculus launched its Oculus Quest, which is a standalone wireless virtual reality headset.
Moreover, the growing pervasiveness of AI technology across VR applications is also enhancing the intelligence of virtual characters, thereby delivering a rich, immersive environment. Google’s machine learning tools add 6DoF controller-tracking capabilities to any standalone headset, while Facebook’s DeepFocus framework makes use of AI to create focus effects in VR, and LG makes use of AI to minimize motion sickness among VR users. The Chinese tech leaders Baidu and Tencent are also working on integrating AI and VR into mobile solutions and video games.
Game developers across emerging economies are also continually striving to enhance gamers’ experience by launching and rewriting codes for diverse console/platforms, such as PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows PC, incorporated into a standalone product and provided to gamers through a cloud platform.
In order to run a game with notably ultra-low latency, the platform requires a good internet speed, which is still lacking worldwide as per the current network infrastructure. 5G is in the testing phase, and such enhancements in the network coverage will enable streaming to become faster, compared to the current situation, where emerging economies with colossal gamer deposition do not have access to the necessary speed or are priced at premiums.
5G is also driving the mobile-based VR market. For instance, in May 2020, Archiact announced its partnership with Migu, a subsidiary of telecom provider China Mobile, for Archiact’s games, which would be the first VR games to be playable via Migu’s 5G cloud gaming platform, named Migu Quick Gaming. By partnering with Migu, Archiact states that it can work together to build the future of 5G VR cloud gaming, thus making VR even more accessible.

Key Market Trends

Standalone HMDs Segment Accounted for the Largest Share

A standalone VR headset is a monolithic headgear with an integrated screen processor and battery and many viewfinders on the body that allow reliable spatial orientation and position detection relative to the world coordinates of additional peripheral devices. It is typically used in conjunction with one or two controllers, each with six degrees of freedom. The Oculus Quest and Vive Focus platforms are two excellent examples.
The productivity of graphics chips in standalone devices has increased significantly. These are now high-performance devices that can process stunning 3D images. The Oculus Quest, for example, has an eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4 gigabytes of RAM. Simultaneously, it does not run background applications, such as processing a GSM network, synchronizing applications with a network, and so on, unlike a mobile phone.
Standalone headsets require the least amount of external engagement; they are plug-and-play without the plug. Apart from charging the battery and sometimes registering an account to access specific VR platforms, users of standalone VR headsets are not required to do anything else.
Since standalone VR headsets contain their own processors, sensors, batteries, storage memory, and screens, they don’t need to be connected to a computer or smartphone. As a result, they are also known as all-in-one VR headsets. Users are not restricted to their living rooms because they are wireless. All-in-one virtual reality headsets are, on average, far less powerful than PC headsets. They have lower-refresh-rate visuals and lower-quality graphics.
However, major tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and HTC, appear to be putting increasing emphasis on this area of VR. Wireless yet powerful virtual reality headsets, rather than tethered VR headsets, are the way of the future. Because they are more inexpensive and dynamic, these categories will become more. prevalent in VR at some time.

North America Holds Significant Market Share

North America is one of the prominent regions for the virtual reality market. It has also been a pioneer in adopting innovations, which provides North America with an edge over other regions.
Further, the region has the highest number of startups focusing on bringing innovative VR technologies for various industries. According to Tracxn Technologies, there are approximately 951 Virtual Reality startups in the United States. A few of them include Orbbec, JauntVR, Dreamscape, and Sandbox VR. Dreamscape is creating a location-based immersive virtual reality entertainment.
The company aims to open a VR multiplex in Los Angeles which will use untethered VR headsets, which means that participants will be wearing VR headsets powered by a computer carried around in a custom backpack, which will allow them to move freely through space and interact with real and virtual objects as well as with each other.
Moreover, the investors in this region are actively looking to invest in diverse VR technology startups working in the region. For instance, the GFR Fund has invested in 17 North American startup companies based on VR technology. Such investments are expected to continue and are estimated to drive market growth in the forecast period.
Various research centers and academics in the region have also been working to explore the potential of virtual reality technology. For instance, Iowa State University’s Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC) is an interdisciplinary research center focused on the intersection of humans and technology. The Medical Virtual Reality group at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies is dedicated to studying and advancing the uses of VR simulation technology for clinical purposes.
Also, in February 2021, Elsevier, a research publishing and information analytics provider, launched the Simulation Learning System (SLS) for RN with Virtual Reality (SLS with VR). This new digital solution combines virtual reality technology from SimX with the healthcare content of Elsevier to bring realistic and highly effective VR simulations to nursing schools.

Competitive Landscape

The global virtual reality market is witnessing a rise in competitiveness among companies. The market consists of various major players, such as Oculus, Google, HTC, Samsung, Sony, and Lenovo. In terms of market share, these significant players currently dominate the market. However, with increasing technology innovations, many companies are increasing their market presence by securing new contracts and tapping new markets. Some of the recent developments in the market are:

AUG 2021- The PlayStation VR 2 will include two OLED screens that support high-dynamic-range (HDR) video, making it brighter, more colorful, and capable of deeper blacks and more brilliant whites. The first PSVR headset has an LCD with a standard dynamic range (SDR). Also, PlayStation virtual reality headset will have a 110-degree field of view, up 10 degrees from the previous model and 20 degrees greater than the Oculus Quest 2.
May 2021- HTC Vive announced the launch of two VR headsets, a new VR headset connected to the PC, and the HTC Vive Focus 3, a standalone VR headset. These products cover both high-end and low-end VR markets.
MAR 2021- Pico Interactive, a global tech company that creates innovative virtual reality (VR) and enterprise solutions, closed a USD 37.4 million B+ funding round, which will support Pico’s B2C presence in Asia as well as Pico’s initiatives in Western markets by increasing the number of B2B partners and accelerating new product development.
JAN 2021- Samsung’s bug-eye VR headgear was granted patents in Europe. It appears to be considerably more ergonomic than prior Samsung headsets and, to be accurate, most competing headsets and the controller come complete with shiny silver joysticks.

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