The virtual reality (VR) in the gaming market was valued at USD 7.7 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 42.50 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 32.75% over the forecast period, 2020 - 2025. VR technology has gained widespread recognition and adoption over the past few years. Recent technological advancements in this field have revealed new enterprises. Numerous players are emerging in this market with the hopes of navigating it toward mainstream adoption in the gaming market space. According to NewGenApps, by 2025, the worldwide user base of AR and VR games is expected to grow to 216 million users.
- VR gaming involves a 3D environment that enables the user on a computing device with the help of a mouse, touch screen, other components to feel the physical presence in the game settings. The various accessories associated with the VR technology such as virtual reality headsets, wrap-around display screens, virtual reality rooms equipped with wearable computers, and sensory components enables gamers to interact, view and move around the objects in the game setting. According to a worldwide survey of technology company executives, startup founders, investors, and consultants, 59% of respondents believe gaming will dominate the investment directed to the development of VR technology.
- Moreover, VR gaming provides interaction and communication to gamers in the game environment, which is attracting more children's and gamers, thus driving the growth of the market. According to 3Dinsider, moe than 64% of active VR users believes that gaming has the biggest potential to benefit from advances in VR technology.
- Further, the market is creating various jobs related to VR gaming, such as game designers, producers, programmers, artists, as well as business, sales, and marketing roles. According to 3Dinsider, between 2015 and 2018, job postings for designers, programmers, and artists for VR games have risen, accounting for 93%.
- VR headset is gaining traction across the market due to its specific application for games such as HTC Vive and the PlayStation VR. For instance, in March 2019, Sony announced it had sold more than 4.2 million PlayStation VR headset worldwide.
- With the recent outbreak of the COVID-19, the market for VR gaming is witnessing a significant increase in adoption as most of the country's have enforced lockdown, and people are spending their time on VR gaming amid this lockdown.
- Many VR gaming providers, such as HTC Viveport, are giving many features to make people stay at home and play them instead of going out. For instance, Viveport Infinity's annual subscription is 75% off, taking it down from USD 107.88 per year to USD 27.
- In April 2020, UTSA researchers launched the first worldwide Accessibility VR Game Jam, which is accessible to gamers with disabilities. But due to COVID-19, they worked to quickly to migrate the game jam to an online-only environment.
Key Market Trends
Premium Mobile Platform to Hold Significant Market Share
- Mobile virtual reality (VR) gaming is the most affordable experience for consumers who want to explore VR gaming without spending a substantial amount of money. Also, the portability and massive install base of smartphone users, across the world, is leading to its widespread adoption. According to Plink, there is about 2.2 billion mobile gamer around the globe.
- With the growing number of mobile gamers, the mobile VR gaming market is expected to gain significant traction as players are offering various accessories such as a head-mounted display for smooth VR gaming experience for the mobile-based gamers.
- The most widely known VR headsets for mobile phones are Samsung Gear and Google Daydream. The lower price as compared to console and PC headsets and mobile headsets are often bundled with premium phones are vital factors that are driving the market. According to the 3D insider, by 2020, it is estimated that the number of VR headsets sold will reach up to 82 million units.
- Moreover, technologies such as 5G are also driving the mobile-based VR gaming market. For instance, in May 2020, Archiact has announced a partnership with Migu, a subsidiary of telecom provider China Mobile, for Archiact's games that would be the first VR games o be playable via Migu's 5G cloud gaming platform, named as Migu Quick Gaming. Also, by partnering with Migu, Archiact states that it is able to work together to build the future of 5G VR cloud gaming, thus making VR even more accessible.
- While VR for mobile gaming currently provides a less immersive experience than console and PC-based VR, its adoption is expected to increase over the forecast period, due to a range of technological advancements in the mobile VR environment. Also, with the growth of smartphones, there is massive potential for the VR gaming market over the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific Region to Witness Significant Growth
- Asia-Pacific is expected to hold a significant share owing to the presence of large and several emerging economies such as India, China, among others, along with the rising acceptance of virtual reality devices in the region. This is, in turn, expected to encourage industry players to invest in VR gaming in the region.
- Due to the rising adoption of VR technology in the country, China is expected to account for a prominent share in the region. Also, the Chinese market for VR is expected to increase due to increased policy support from the government as well as rolling out of technologies such as 5G in the country. According to the industry regulator, China's virtual reality (VR) market is forecast to expand to USD 7.9 billion by 2021.
- Also, many players in the region are building new games with more realistic in-game features that are driving the market. For instance, in July 2019, Hong Kong's startup Sandbox VR created hyperrealistic virtual reality games. It has experimented with location-based VR gaming.
- The region is witnessing many investment and development in the R gaming market space. For instance, in August 2019, Beijing-China's online and mobile game developer Yunyou Holdings, which is listed in Hong Kong, acquired the virtual reality startup Beijing Xigua Huyu Entertainment Technology to expand its product line.
- Also, in January 2020, Virtuleap has launched the Enhance VR brain training app in China in partnership with the HTC Viveport China team. Enhance VR offers a daily workout of mini-games designed to assess and train different cognitive skills such as memory, problem-solving, flexibility, and speed, as well as motor skills, spatial orientation, and spatial audio awareness.
The virtual reality in gaming market is a consolidated market, owing to the presence of many large players in the market. The market is consolidated with the key players adopting strategies, such as product innovation, to stay ahead of the competition. Some of the players in the market are Oculus VR (Facebook Technologies LLC), HTC Vive, Nintendo Co Limited, Microsoft Corporation, among others.
- May 2020 - Apple Inc. acquired NextVR, a startup that provides sports and other content for virtual-reality headsets. The acquisition will help Apple's development of VR and AR headsets with accompanying software and content.
- February 2020 - Facebook has acquired Bay Area VR studio Sanzuru Games. The acquisition will help Facebook to explore the VR game studios, as Sanzuru Games has created a total of four titles for the Oculus Rift, including "Asgard's Wrath" and "Marvel Powers United VR. Also, it has made a number of titles on console and mobile systems, releasing games structured around their own IP alongside licensed titles for properties like Sonic and Spyro.
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