Metaverse platforms to propel VR into $51bn industry

Read time 2min 50sec

While virtual reality (VR) is set to see significant growth in the next 10 years, the technology is still not a “mainstream success”.

This is according to data and analytics company GlobalData, which estimates the global VR market will hit the $51 billion mark in 2030.

It notes VR’s important role in the future of work and its part in the development of metaverse platforms will augment its appeal in the long-term.

The metaverse is loosely defined as an extensive online world where people interact via digital avatars. Companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), have announced plans to develop metaverse experiences, services and hardware.

According to Microsoft, eventually, the idea is that people will be able to do almost anything in the metaverse – go shopping, attend school or participate in work meetings.

In the short-term, GlobalData says VR will simply be a time of jumping hurdles – unless someone on the consumer side strikes gold and discovers a “killer app”.

A killer application is any computer program or software that is so necessary or desirable that it proves the core value of some larger technology, such as computer hardware, a video game console, software, a programming language, a software platform, or an operating system.

Rupantar Guha, associate project manager for the thematic team at GlobalData, comments: “VR has been around for over six decades, in one form or another, but it is still not a mainstream technology.

“Both VR hardware and software have evolved significantly in recent years, but issues such as latency, high prices, privacy concerns and a dearth of compelling content have been preventing widespread adoption. While technologies such as 5G, cloud services and motion tracking are used to address latency issues, improving content and developing effective data privacy practices will be paramount for VR’s success.”

GlobalData’s latest thematic report, “Thematic Research: Virtual Reality”, reveals the global VR market was worth nearly $5 billion in 2020 and will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 27% over the 10-year period.

It notes the VR market remains heavily oriented around gaming, but VR is gaining traction in areas such as social media and live streaming. To gain mainstream traction, though, VR will need a “killer app”.

A recent report by investment advice company Arden Partners says the video game industry is set to record exponential growth over the long-term, as rapid acceleration of the metaverse and virtual VR piques investor interest.

Guha continues: “Consumer-focused VR companies are striving for that semi-mythical ‘killer app’ that would make VR a mainstream hit in the consumer market, but many companies – for example, VR headset makers – are increasingly exploring the enterprise space. We expect enterprise to become the key market for VR over the next three years, outpacing the consumer segment.

“VR is already in use across the retail, defence, airlines, oil and gas, and healthcare industries – primarily for training purposes. However, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a shift to remote working that has boosted the adoption of VR by enterprises, not just for training, but for collaboration, data visualisation and customer experience.”

See also