You don’t have to look very hard to find a group of people eager to tell you how big virtual reality is getting. But it’s difficult to forecast how fast things are actually moving since the first consumer products have yet to go to market. One company is taking a stab at quantifying growth. A research group called SuperData announced is making a bold prediction:
— SuperData (@_SuperData) February 19, 2015
To put that number in perspective, let’s turn it up to 50. Radio took 38 years to reach 50 million users. TV reached that same number in 14 years. The Internet did it in four. If SuperData’s forecast holds up, VR could reach 50 million by 2018, maybe sooner.
Mobile or Bust
If virtual reality adoption does reach critical mass, it will have to be on the back of Mobile VR, As global mobile usage continues to climb, mobile VR applications and content will be so much more accessibly. Specialty virtual reality hardware like the Oculus and Morpheus will be a favorite for gamers and enthusiasts.
It may be a bit early to even reference a “virtual reality industry” yet, since the first bonafide consumer product has yet to be released. Because of this, expect smaller, agile, independent VR creators to shape the medium as it forms over the new several years. In the beginning, gaming is most highly anticipated market for virtual reality. That may be the case for several years, with a broader entertainment industry on deck. However, as VR technologies become more stable, look for adoption across every industry imaginable. Journalism, design, treatment, travel, commerce and education are already being gushed over by people driven to push their fields further with virtual reality.