There are More than 550 Companies in the Virtual Reality Ecosystem
More than 550 virtual reality companies already make up the virtual reality ecosystem according to the Virtual Reality Fund which is currently tracking companies in the VR landscape.
The key growth areas driving investments in the VR sector include location-based entertainment (LBE), enterprise, gaming, next-generation reality capture and health care applications.
In 2019 alone, some of the biggest VR funding deals have gone to the LBE startup Sandbox VR. On the other hand, some of the top entertainment companies such as IMAX have been shutting down their virtual reality offerings. It has been a mixed landscape. Other entertainment companies such as Spaces and Cinemark have been moving strongly into VR, launching various LBE locations in various movie theaters. Location-based virtual reality experiences are also seeing strong growth in the Chinese market.
The healthcare industry is also seeing strong interest and increasing investments, particularly in immersive training applications. Funding has flowed into various companies offering diverse virtual reality startups such as Precision OS, Fundamental VR and many others. Check out our article on some of the top startups and companies that are already rolling out VR-based medical applications. Apart from training applications, there have also been huge investments in virtual reality treatment applications such as Oxford VR, ProPrio and many others.
A notable area that is seeing investments is the next-generation reality capture which has activated new experiences for both virtual reality and augmented reality. It is a sure a sign that the industry is moving past the 360-degree video into more immersive experiences.
Consumer VR is also picking up pace rapidly. The launch of the Oculus Quest virtual reality headset along with the virtual reality head-mounted displays such as the Valve Index and Oculus Rift S have gone a long way in meeting the needs of the consumer market thanks to the significant quality and performance improvements over those of the previous generations. Oculus already has a complete line-up of its first-generation VR headsets that a go a long way in addressing the needs of the pro-sumer market. It might not have grown as fast expected but the consumer market is already quite robust. Sony alone sold more than 4.2 million units of its PlayStation VR virtual reality headsets. Nintendo has hopped onto the VR bandwagon with its Nintendo Labo VR kit and it has also incorporated VR into its flagship Zelda and Mario titles.
Apart from the major corporations, Indie developers are also diving deeper into VR and finding successes along the way. Perhaps one of the best illustrations of this is in the runaway success of Beat Saber which has been the first virtual reality title to sell more than 1 million copies in less than a year raking in more than $20 million in revenues. The Beat Saber success in VR has mirrored the success of Angry Birds and other hit mobile games during the early days of the smartphone revolution.
Other key players in the gaming ecosystem such as the Superhot Team have generated more revenues from their virtual reality titles than from their non-VR titles, further illustrating the huge opportunity for VR for developers.
Away from consumer-based VR, enterprise VR is also gaining quite some ground in this landscape. In the recent past, we have seen the rollout of some really high-end offerings such as HTC Vive, Varjo and HP headsets that promise enterprise and corporate users even more features as well as functionality. Other players that have traditionally focused on the consumer market such as Oculus are also beginning to eye the enterprise market with new enterprise services and bundles slated for this fall.
The enterprise sector has also racked up some successes, particularly for virtual reality enterprise software such as Strivr which has already been used in training more than one million Walmart employees. There are also companies such as Gravity Sketch whose enterprise solution is being used in designing Ford cars in collaborative immersive environments or Virtualitics which has been deployed by Kuehne+Nagel in the optimization of supply chains.
2019 is shaping up to be a good year for immersive technologies with strong indicators suggesting that the adoption of immersive technologies is reaching a critical inflection point. In the next few years, there will be an acceleration in the adoption of virtual reality which is majorly driven by investments by some of the key players such as Facebook, Sony and HTC among others. Dynamic startups such as Magic Leap are also making big moves in this space.