SuperData says VR has ‘nowhere to go but up,’ while HTC VR division sees layoffs and Facebook apologizes for VR shooter demo
SuperData continues to express confidence in the future of virtual reality – however you want to label it. Last week, the analytics firm updated its paid paper on its expectations for the industry, saying it has “nowhere to go but up.”
“Driven by augmented reality and mixed reality and successful titles, the XR market will reach a combined $7.6B in 2018 across hardware and software,” the firm argues. Revenue from VR software in 2017 was just over half a billion dollars – 55% of which was from games, with Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchisea earning the most. And that other 45%? “Developers are focusing most on fields like design, retail, and manufacturing despite an overwhelming demand for education and healthcare solutions,” says the firm, pointing out that the big VR money isn’t in making people smarter or healthier.
Readers will recall that SuperData called VR the “biggest loser” of the holiday gaming sales at the end of 2016; that was followed by a NYT piece calling for “a reality check for virtual reality” just a year ago. Nevertheless, as of April 2017, SuperData was predicting a “steep rise” in VR adoption and $40B in revenue by 2020. The current report, however, suggests a combined consumer revenue for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality of just under $40B by 2021.
All of that will be no help to the “large portion” – perhaps as many as 100 – of HTC’s employees who were laid off last week as the company merges its smartphone and VR divisions.
And in other VR news, Facebook was called out on its tone-deaf decision to show VR shooter Bullet Train at right-wing convention CPAC following the horrific Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which has dominated national headlines this month and spurred politicians to (predictably) blame video games for gun violence. “In light of the recent events in Florida and out of respect for the victims and their families, we have removed them from this demo,” a Facebook rep said. “We regret that we failed to do so in the first place.”