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Making Zuck’s “1 Billion People in VR” Dream A Reality

Mark Zuckerberg demonstrating Facebook Spaces.

2017 has changed the way we experience Virtual Reality (VR). The adoption of VR has taken a solid swing upwards as the needle starts to point in its favor. From sales numbers, to market adoption, to VR expansion from gaming to other verticals, we are quickly approaching the inflection point that will take VR from just a “toy” in the hands of gamers to a true multimedia essential for everyday life.

VR HMDs in 2017

In 2016, there were 18 million VR head-mounted displays (HMDs) in existence world-wide. According to Statista, that number will almost double to 31 million by the end of this year and look to take an even sharper increase in 2018. With greater adoption, VR will seep its way into daily life where users will want to participate in the wide array of offerings VR brings, from gaming, to socializing, and to work.

VR has come a long way since the original Oculus (left: Oculus 2013; right: Samsung Odyssey 2017).

Stationary VR Sales and Adoption 2017

According to reports from Canalys, Sony shipped almost 500,000 units of PSVR headsets in just the third quarter alone ($150M+ in sales!). On the other hand, Facebook’s Oculus shipped 210,000 units and HTC shipped 160,000 units of their Vive. This is the first time that these high end VR platforms have moved past 1M units in a single quarter. Sales from these units alone amount to $252.69M.

Even though Facebook’s price cuts have driven greater adoption of the Oculus Rift over the HTC Vive, Sony has certainly outsold both companies twice over. The PVSR does not need a high-powered gaming PC to operate and instead plugs into existing PS4 systems, which reduces the barrier of adoption for the PSVR. These Q3 numbers are encouraging, but does not even take into consideration the upcoming Q4 sales backed by Black Friday and the holiday season.

The Samsung Gear VR runs on the Oculus platform.

Mobile VR Sales and Adoption 2017

The market leader for mobile VR is currently Samsung’s Gear VR which runs on the Oculus platform. With more than 5 million units sold to date and 6.7 million to be sold in 2017, the Gear benefits by bringing high quality VR to already existent phones for a fraction of the cost ($39-$99) of stationary VR setups like the PSVR, Rift and Vive ($350+).

The Google Daydream platform has entered the game later than Samsung’s Gear VR, and thus, does not have greater market share in 2017. According to gameindustry.biz, Google has sold 170,000 units in Q1, but according to projections, Daydream should reach 3.5 million units sold by the end of this year.

Daydream has the potential to dominate this space due to Google’s R&D department and their vast Android (on which Daydream is built) developer network. Daydream will be able to push more content quicker on a familiar Android platform.

Mobile VR sales to date are $650M+. This number will drastically increase as mobile VR platforms reach stationary VR in overall quality. These staggering numbers will result in a larger integration of VR into mainstream society.

Expanding VR to More Than Gaming

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made an remarkable statement at OC4 in San Jose, California this year.

“We are setting a goal. We want to get a billion people in virtual reality.” — Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg started this keynote with “Why put a computer in your pocket when most people wanted a phone for text messages? Why do virtual reality when most people want to watch on a 2D screen? The future is built by the people who believe it can be better than that.” He was alluding to the fact that if the innovators of our day were solely reliant on asking people what they wanted, without taking leaps to show them what they may actually want, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

At Immersed, we are here to make the future better. We believe that VR should not to be limited by the common gaming uses it has today. We believe that VR is much larger than that. The average American works 90,360 hours in their lifetime. At Immersed, we want to immersed users into VR to avoid long commute times, cross country expeditions for design reviews and business trips, and unnecessarily high urban housing conditions. In VR, professionals can collaborate, communicate, and work as if they were on-site together.

When VR has more practical applications for the consumer, we can help make Mark Zuckerberg’s projections of 1 billion people in VR a reality. As with any technological advancement (ie., the automobile, personal computer, mobile phone), when the technology is made practical and economical to the consumer, we see exponential increases in adoption.

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