Virtual and Mixed Reality - The Future is Nearly Here

Virtual and Mixed Reality Market Analysis and Commentary




17 Nov 2015 - Innovative, cutting edge technology and what it means to consumer entertainment continues to be on the forefront of the agenda at Futuresource Consulting as it announces the imminent release of its latest report covering Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

The new report examines the potential of the technology across a wide spectrum of applications, including the worlds of Consumer Electronics, Broadcast, Education and B2B verticals. It will look at the drivers and barriers facing VR as it struggles to emerge from science fiction to realise its potential to revolutionise the way we view and interact with content.

"Virtual reality is still very much in the 'innovation' stage, but this will start to change over the coming months as a variety of major first generation headsets hit the market," commented Adam Cox, Senior Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "Some of the world's largest and most prominent companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Sony have a great deal of faith in the new technology and are putting in place the ecosystems required to pave the way for a successful introduction to the mass market. It is still extremely early days for VR, but with the backing of such prominent companies that have brought about significant changes in how we live our lives before, its outlook is exciting."

Gaming, thought by many to be one of the key drivers for consumer VR uptake, is one of the areas focused on in the report. A major factor in this will be the strength and continued growth of the installed base of PS4 consoles which will be key in driving demand for Sony's own headset, while in the PC gaming sector the dominance of Valve and its Steam gaming platform will fuel uptake of the HTC Vive headset.

The global headset market remains in its infancy, with low level sales volumes to date, although the market will be given a significant boost over the next couple of months, especially around January's CES. The launch of Samsung's Gear VR consumer unit in Q4 2015 as well as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive in the opening months of 2016 will transform the market with the launch of the Playstation VR headset as well as Microsoft's HoloLens and Google-backed Magic Leap MR headsets to follow at later dates.

VR has to find a dedicated application for home video but the major Hollywood studios are already taking tentative steps towards making content available in virtual reality. Early initiatives revolve around using VR as a lean back experience, viewing feature film titles within a virtual theatre environment. VR feature films are highly unlikely to be released in the short to mid-term, with studios focusing on short-form content supplementing traditional content offerings.

The report discusses how the world of broadcast is looking into VR with interest, but the challenges faced in creating authentic VR video are considerable. Several broadcasters have already conducted trials such as the BBC with Strictly Come Dancing and Turner Sports trialing an NBA game in VR. Productions remain at the experimental stage, however, as production and post production techniques have to almost be rewritten from scratch. VR is not expected to replace broadcast, but should be thought about as a completely separate medium and one that compliments the traditional viewing experience.

The last focus of the report is the B2B world. This area is full of potential with a multitude of verticals such as simulation, product design and architecture set to benefit from a fully immersive experience. Unlike more consumer entertainment orientated applications, there are typically clear benefits for deploying VR, often with measurable ROI models

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Notes
Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organisations with insight into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media, education technology and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments. www.futuresource-consulting.com

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