VR devices market will be a virtual goldmine worth $1bn in 2016

13 Jan 201616 Shares

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Deloitte predicts a bumper $1bn year for VR, but says VR may never become as ubiquitous as the smartphone

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Virtual reality will have its first $1bn year in 2016, with some $700m worth of hardware and around $300m worth of content to be sold during the year, according to Deloitte.

Deloitte estimates that sales of 2.5m VR headsets and 10m copies of games will generate these sales figures.

However, there is still some way to go before VR becomes a mainstream technology phenomena.

‘While in 2016 virtual reality is expected to reach a major milestone―becoming a $1bn market—in the long term VR is likely to struggle to reach the scale or ubiquity of the smartphone, PC or the television set’
– RICHARD HOWARD, DELOITTE

Despite most new smartphones being capable of VR, revenues in 2016 will be driven by tens of millions of core users rather than billions of casual gamers.

“While in 2016 virtual reality is expected to reach a major milestone―becoming a $1bn market—in the long term VR is likely to struggle to reach the scale or ubiquity of the smartphone, PC or the television set,” said Richard Howard, head of technology, media and telecommunications, Deloitte Ireland.

“However, as the technology required to provide a totally immersive experience improves, wider global adoption may ensue.”

Artificial intelligence and the rise of cognitive technologies in the enterprise is also a major trend that will hit pay dirt in 2016.

Howard said that there is growth potential in areas like computer vision, natural language processing and machine learning and that 80 of the world’s top 100 enterprise software companies will use these technologies to unleash the potential of the internet of things.

Reports of the death of the PC have been greatly exaggerated

Other key trends predicted for 2016 include the PC continuing to survive despite the influx of VR, wearables and smartphone devices.

If anything, over 85pc of trailing millennials (18-to-24-year-olds) are actually pro-PC and see smartphones and PCs as complementary devices. This trend is being helped by the continuing fall in the price of PC devices.

Deloitte also predicted growth in mobile wallet technology by up to 150pc as retailers figure out ways to exploit the consumer’s love of smartphone devices and as services like Apple Pay come on stream.

In terms of communications, Deloitte heralds the dawn of the 1Gbps internet age, which is expected to surge tenfold by up to 10m connections by year-end, fueled by availability and falling prices.

In Ireland, for example, Eir is working on bringing 1Gbps connectivity to 300,000 homes and so far has passed 30,000 premises with the service.

Globally, Deloitte predicts 600m consumers worldwide will be paying for 1Gbps by 2020.

The used smartphone market is also a secondary market set to thrive in 2016 with the value of the second-hand smartphone market set to soar to $17bn, up from $11bn last year.

Deloitte estimates that 10pc of premium smartphones bought in 2016, such as the iPhone 6s and the Samsung Galaxy S6, are likely to have at least three or more owners before they are retired.

VR headset image via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com