Are Virtual Reality Movies the Next Big Thing?

POSTED BY Nitin Bhas
Juniper has identified 2016 as the watershed year for VR (virtual reality) headsets, in terms of product launches and consumer roll outs. The recent attention to and investment into VR is helping to revitalise the industry, so with major brand commercial launches imminent there is huge potential for rapid market expansion. Oculus, Sony, and HTC are among the leading players expected to release key VR products over the next 12 months.

Disney invests in Jaunt

Following investments by major players including the likes of Facebook, Intel and Google, Disney has led a $65 million investment into Jaunt, an entertainment video content focussed VR start-up. With the support of Disney, and other investors including Evolution Media Capital, China Media Capital, Axel Springer and Madison Square Garden Company, Jaunt plans to improve its cameras, further develop software and increase production. This demonstrates how VR has much potential beyond entertainment applications and is likely to quickly move into other areas such as movies, sports and journalism.

Challenges facing VR movies

Our research notes that on a basic level, various cinema applications already allow traditional formats to be watched in the cinematic experience of VR. However, as with game adaptations, these are likely to suffer from a novelty factor and merely provide a bridge between these traditional formats and purpose built VR films.

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Juniper Research believes that the technology is now poised to transform the entertainment industry, including games and video, in the next few years, whilst offering the potential to quickly expand into other markets such as industrial and healthcare.

However, while VR film applications will see major advances over the next 5 years, growth will be much slower than that of the games market.