The global augmented reality and virtual reality market had been expected to grow at a substantial rate especially in training and infotainment sectors.
When gaming app Pokémon GO took over last year, augmented reality (AR) was really thrust into the mainstream. After becoming the most successful U.S. mobile game ever, the app’s popularity inevitably declined. However, according to Newzoo, the game is still making $2 million per day, and is the fastest game ever to reach $600 million in revenue, which it did in just three months. The app’s success not only shows the potential for Augmented Reality, but demonstrates strong consumer adoption rates for the new technology.
Even the virtual reality headsets from hardware makers like Oculus, Samsung and HTC that grabbed headlines at the world’s biggest shows for technology enthusiasts may also be slowly fading, according to a roundup of MWC’s biggest themes in the Irish Independent. “VR is being talked about more in niche terms than ubiquitous, mass-market parlance.”
However, the growth potential in these markets, specifically as it relates to retail, is huge. IDC estimates that the virtual and augmented reality markets will explode from $5.2 billion in 2015 to $162 billion in 2020. Within the next 3 years, over a billion people worldwide are expected to regularly access AR and VR content. That’s an audience that consumer brands will want to reach. Brands like McDonald’s, Budweiser, Kellogg’s, Ikea and Lego are already taking steps to capitalize on the new media, IDC chief analyst Frank Gens says.
Augmented reality layers digital information over what people see in the real world. Virtual reality completely immerses people in a digital world.
Augmented reality and Virtual reality are new computer interfaces for interacting with information.
“By 2020, the coolest mobile and web experiences we have today are going to seem very flat and hopelessly boring.”
Augmented reality started on mobile phones with applications like Pokemon Go and will shift to computerised glasses like Microsoft’s HoloLens. Meanwhile, virtual reality is poised to redefine video games and video entertainment. But the biggest impact for virtual reality will be bringing an immersive experience to social networks. Social media is going to become increasingly immersive through virtual reality,” as per Gens. Facebook saw the trend coming, so it purchased the maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. By 2020, over 20% of commercial media on Facebook will be 360-degree video and photo content, IDC predicts.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has also touted the importance of AR stating “I regard it (augmented reality) as a big idea like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could
improve a lot of lives.” In recent years, Apple has also made strides to invest in AR with its acquisition of Volkswagen offshoot – Metaio.
Among the virtual reality and the augmented reality markets, the former one is projected to register a relatively fast-paced growth in the coming years due to the high demand for augmented reality devices in the media and entertainment, healthcare, gaming, and the manufacturing sectors.