VR – Empty Head(set)s?
While a variety of VR (virtual reality) units have been in development for decades, the technology has come to the forefront in recent years thanks to developments in sensor technologies and the availability of relatively cheap VR units in the form of mobile VR. In 2017 this was augmented by the development of standalone VR headsets from a range of companies, fully rounding out the potential for head‑mounted VR devices.
With several prominent platforms available, the market has now turned to the question of content and accessories in a bigger way than previously, and is a prominent theme in Juniper’s latest VR research
. The questions of how VR can be used are not just being asked by gamers and multimedia companies, but also in a range of industries that want to use it for training, educational and other work purposes. However, adoption has not been as high as expected, particularly for the higher‑spec devices, which has left content creators reluctant to enter the market.
The VR Content ‘Chicken & Egg’ Problem
In order to drive usage in VR, particularly at the high end, a high level of sophisticated content is required which means engaging software developers.
Software developers require a large audience to buy their products, which needs an existing user base to plug into. As a result, VR releases have been very tied to product launches, with dips in software releases after console launch (see figure below). This, combined with the slow growth of VR hardware adoption, means that the addressable base for software will remain low for several years.