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Why the Facebook Acquisition of Oculus VR is Great News for the Virtual Reality Market

Email inboxes, Twitter feeds and News sites have been red-hot today due to the announcement that Facebook is to acquire Oculus VR in a $2bn deal.

Whilst some of the reactions have been negative, largely based on people not being fans of Facebook, we think this is great news for the virtual reality market and here’s some reasons why…..

Firstly, it’s a clear indication that the virtual reality market is going to be huge. Last week at GDC Sony presented their foray into the market with Project Morpheus. And, not to be outdone, Microsoft made noises about their interest in the market. Having Facebook in the mix means greater awareness of the technology.

A similar thing happened back in 2007 when Club Penguin was acquired by Disney in a $700m deal. Up to that point, it was only really kids (i.e. the players of a small number of virtual worlds) who had heard about virtual worlds. Almost overnight they became mainstream assisted by the media which then led to an influx of VC activity in the space and the creation of countless start-ups and companies launching their own worlds.

Secondly, consumer adoption of headsets will be assisted with potentially lower price points. Oculus will be able to price the consumer version (CV1) more attractively, meaning more people will be able to afford them. Mark Zuckerberg has already gone on record stating the FB won’t try to make a profit off selling Oculus hardware.

Thirdly and ultimately most important in terms of where this market is heading, having Facebook  involved in the space means a greater focus on the ‘social’ aspects of virtual reality. By this we mean the creation of virtual worlds and spaces allowing synchronous user to user interaction.

Of course, using virtual reality to play games is a key application and we expect many successes in this segment of the market. But, the virtual reality market really comes alive when people can have experiences together, in the same space at the same time. This is the main reason we believe Facebook has acquired Oculus and is referenced in the press release from yesterday…

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

vr radar thematic seg2 q1 14So, expect ‘Social Worlds’ to be a major part of the virtual reality roadmap.

We identified this segment back in January when we released our VR Radar – 12 key sectors for virtual reality adoption. The social worlds segment is shown in the graphic right.

And another sector, LifeLogging could also be part of future plans. After all, recording and sharing what we’re doing in our lives is a key feature of Facebook.

Concluding the point of this article, the virtual reality market was going to be big without the Facebook acquisition. Now it looks like it’s going to be bigger and probably take place faster.

Looking to develop an Oculus Rift application? Contact us here.

 

 

 

Forecast: 200k Virtual Reality Headset Units Sold By End of 2014. $60m Market Size.

Announcements made at GDC last week by Sony and Oculus have helped to firm-up the state of the consumer virtual reality market in 2014. For those of you who didn’t catch the GDC news…..

  • Oculus confirmed that the second iteration of the developer kit (DK2) will be shipping in June/July 2014.
  • Sony showcased Project Morpheus, their VR headset. However, this will not be shipping in 2014 and instead is rumoured to be available early 2015.

Back in January we released our State of the Market report and accompanying market sizing analysis. In this market sizing assessment we forecasted a total of 200k VR headset units sold in 2014, yielding a  market value of $60m (at an average sales price of $300). It looks like our forecast was pretty accurate for the following reasons:

  • Oculus has sold 75k DK1 units to date (with sales now suspended for this version). Of this 75k, circa 25k were sold in 2014 (we estimate).
  • We expect the vast majority of DK1 buyers to purchase DK2.
  • With interest in VR and Oculus continuing to grow through 2014, we forecast at least 100k new sales (from new buyers) in 2014 once DK2 is released. This is a prudent estimate.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 16.32.27Our five year unit sales forecast is shown right. Post 2014, our forecast is based on the following assumptions:

  • In 2014 Oculus is the only company selling a virtual reality headset. So, our 2014 forecast numbers for the market is essentially a forecast for Oculus.
  • Sony enters the market Q1 2015 with a consumer version of Project Morpheus.
  • Oculus also launches their consumer version (CV1) in Q1 2015.
  • Microsoft and potentially three other major companies enter the market towards the end 2015. We anticipate Samsung, Apple, Google and LG to be in the mix here.
  • Other hardware start-ups launch consumer VR headsets throughout 2015  and 2016.
  • Hardcore gamers and Innovators drive initial sales (these are the people purchasing DK1 and 2).
  • Early adopters and light gamers boost sales supported by the Early Majority and the Teen market from 2015, ramping up from 2016 onwards.

Total unit sales in 2015 is forecasted at 5.7m, rising to 10.9m in 2016 with the VR market establishing itself as a serious contender in the global gaming and entertainment marketplaces. Over the full five year period of 2014 to 2018, we forecast total cumulative unit sales of 56.8m.

Our Slideshare presentation containing more detailed market forecasts for consumer virtual reality is shown below. For more insight into the Virtual Reality market you can order our State of the Market report for free here.

Looking to develop an Oculus Rift application? Contact us here.

Virtual Reality News Weekly: Issue 1

The first edition of our email newsletter Virtual Reality News Weekly came out yesterday. If you’d like to get this delivered via email you can subscribe here. Here’s what was in week 1.

vr radar seg4 q1 14The brand-new VR Radar chart. We’ve taken our popular Virtual Worlds radar chart and adapted it for the consumer Virtual Reality market. The Virtual Reality radar chart shows 12 key segments we believe will be driving consumer interest. For each segment we’ve identified the year in which the first commercial activity will occur along with initial game demos/prototypes and planned VR compatible games. View the full presentation on Slideshare.

Wired magazine takes a closer look at the latest Oculus Rift (Crystal Cove) with positional tracking. More.

Virtual reality beamed straight onto the retina. Check out the Avegant Glyph – the headset meant to go mainsteam. More.

Sony releases details about their highly anticipated VR headset at CES – ‘A theatre on your head’. More.

Minecraft + Oculus Rift = Minecrift. UGC based VR applications are featured in the Radar chart. More.

Game distribution platform Steam gears up for pending player demand by adding a Virtual Reality category. More.

Consumer Virtual Reality sector (hardware and software) valued at $16.2bn by 2018. More.

Personal Movie Theaters. Once you try it, it all makes sense. Techcrunch explains further. More.

Buckle up for simulation car racing games. The Road to VR takes a look at what’s in the virtual garage. More.

The Kids, Tweens and Teens sector is one of the key segments explained in our latest market report. More.

Virtual Reality News Weekly comes out every Wednesday.

Further information:

Order the State of the Market Report for Consumer Virtual Reality.

Sign-up for Virtual Reality News Weekly

Order the high-res full version of Virtual Reality Radar Chart.

Slideshare presentation: Virtual Reality Radar chart.

Slideshare presentation: Consumer VR Market Size.

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KZero Reports

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VR Concept of the week: Sports Streaming

This is the first of a series of articles we’ll be releasing every week identifying key growth segments for the Consumer Virtual Reality sector – our concept of the week. This post explains streaming live sports into virtual reality devices.

First, let’s lay out what we mean by VR Sports Streaming in simple terms (and we’ll try to make this as simple as possible!)…..

A virtual reality device (headset) enables the wearer to be placed into a stereoscopic virtual world. This means they can look around the world (the view) with head movements. This sense of immersion creates the experience of ‘being there’, from the perspectives of feeling closer to the action and having the ability to decide where to look.

vr radar thematic seg1 q1 14Relating this specifically to sports, the key difference between watching sports on a TV and experiencing sports via VR is the immersion. Watching sports on TV is always a passive experience – you can only watch what the cameraman and directors decide you’re going to watch – it’s a fixed view.

With VR, you have much greater control over what you see. If you want to look to the left, when the play is moving to the right, you can. And, depending on the position of the camera feeding the streamed image, rather than viewing a game from a high fixed camera angle, you potentially get to experience the action much closer to where it’s taking place.

We expect the sports streaming segment to be a key new genre for consumer VR and importantly, we expect this genre to be highly monetisable as consumers (read fans) show a willingness to pay for new premium content.  Our latest market analysis for the VR sector (the VR Radar) identifies initial sporting concepts to come to market later this year, with further adoption into 2015. This is shown in the chart above right.

Let’s drill-down a little more into how sports streaming could actually work with some specific applications.

Firstly, there are already companies making early moves in this space. Next3D, an Atlanta-based co positions itself as a ‘Leader in stereoscopic 3D technology with more than 35 years of combined experience in media, content production, and stereoscopic delivery and display’.

They’re developing a product called ‘Full Court’ that leverages 180 degree fisheye and 4K cameras positioned at sporting events. The 180 degree viewing range thus allows people to feel immersed into the event. Here’s a YouTube video of the Next3D founders being interview recently at CES by Road to VR.

Secondly, we expect sports streaming to also take place on a more intimate basis, as an output from LifeLogging technologies. LifeLogging refers to the capture of real-time audio and video via camera devices. The visual below left expains further.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 11.11.10LifeLogging technologies will allow people to capture what they’re doing – in other words what they’re seeing, saying and hearing.

Relating this back to sports, a person could be sitting on the front row of a basketball match, the directors box at a Champions League final or simply just somewhere in a stadium. In a way, the wearer/owner of the LifeLogging device is the context creator, cameraman and director all rolled into one.

Using virtual reality technology, the input could be processed and provided as an output, i.e. the VR device becomes the display unit for what the LifeLogger is recording.

And it doesn’t stop there – imagine a LifeLogging device being attached to the helmet of a quarterback or a racing driver. As per our Radar chart analysis, we expect the personal LifeLogging of sporting events to occur from late 2015 / early 2016.

The sporting sector, along with 11 other key segments for consumer VR adoption are explained in our latest State of the Market report.

Further information:

Order the State of the Market Report for Consumer Virtual Reality.

Slideshare presentation for the Virtual Reality Radar chart.

Order the high-res full version of Virtual Reality Radar Chart.

KZero Services

KZero Reports

Rebooting Mirror Worlds with Virtual Reality

eiffel_003-1A Mirror World is a virtual world based on a real-life place – a digital re-creation of an existing landmark, building, region or even an entire country.

Mirror Worlds became popular initially in virtual worlds such as Second Life, that allowed the activity due to the presence of User Generated Content (UGC) – users purchasing land and re-creating real world places. And there was a lot of them.

Other UGC based virtual worlds such as Minecraft allowed this theme to continue. Coupled to the ‘community building’ element of Mirror Worlds (users taking VW tools and deciding to create their own places), a small number of companies were established to focus solely on Mirror World business models, the best example being Twinity, a German company that launched a virtual version of Berlin.

Were these initial Mirror Worlds popular? To a degree yes. Users were interested in exploring these digital environments but the business models didn’t really promise what was on paper – the experience just wasn’t real enough. Although what was being shown on screen looked realistic and reflective of the real world place, the interface (the monitor screen) experience still felt a little remote.

However, with the coming consumer push around virtual reality, we expect the interest in Mirror Worlds to re-emerge. In fact, we’ve identified it as one of the key sectors for consumer adoption in our latest VR Radar chart analysis.

1374192331894673y4iy66r_1381343406006Using VR technologies to place users within Mirror Worlds is an altogether different and more immersive experience than viewing on a monitor as users are placed within the Mirror World environment.

An early demo of this genre has been created for the Oculus Rift. Virtual Tuscany is a virtual reality representation of a Tuscan house and garden. You’ll have to try it yourself to really understand how immersive it is, but rest assured it’s a great demo.

In terms of the applications for Mirror Worlds and Virtual Reality, here’s a few examples:

  • Tourism: Allowing people to virtually visit places they’ve never been before. These could include cities and landmarks.
  • Construction/development: Allowing people to explore commercial and residential properties.
  • Geography: We see education as a perfect vertical for VR Mirror Worlds and in this example students (or anyone else for that matter) could visit Mirror Worlds based on ocean floors, deserts, glaciers – you get the idea!
  • History: This is an interesting concept (and already observed within Second Life) that would allow people to visit historic venues and places from the past.
  • And our favourite – just for the hell of it. If people are given the tools to create, then that’s what they’re going to do.

Also, don’t forget about Google Maps, Street View and Indoor Maps. These are all currently being worked on to incorporate VR capabilities.

Mirror Worlds are explained further in our new report: Consumer Virtual Reality – State of the Market.

Looking to develop an Oculus Rift application? Contact us here.

 

 

12 key segments for the Consumer Virtual Reality market

AKA, the Virtual Reality Radar Chart for Q1 2014.

We’ve been tracking the Virtual Reality market for a while now and 2014 is the year we’re going to start seeing consumer devices reach the market. Now of course, having the devices (the Virtual Reality headsets) is one thing, but you have to have applications, games and content in order to bring the essence of virtual reality to life.

To that end, we’ve taken the popular Virtual Worlds Radar chart and adapted it for the consumer Virtual Reality market. The Virtual Reality Radar Chart shows 12 key segments we believe will be popular as the device penetration grows. For each segment we’ve identified the year in which the first commercial activity will occur, i.e. when developers will launch their games. Then, we’ve indicated the key user age ranges that the games and apps will be targeting.

Shown below is one of the Radar slices, this one showing activity in three of the 12 segments, namely New Concept MMOs, Simulation games/apps and Casual Games.

vr radar thematic seg4 q1 14New Concept MMO/VW applications are multi-player, 3D immersive games specifically created to exploit the benefits of virtual reality. The older gaming market (15 years +) will see the first of these concepts come to market in 2014.

From here, new entrants to the market will age-down, meaning tween/teen games launch in 2015 and then kids in 2016.

Simulation games are typically first-person applications such as flying games, sandboxes and simulated worlds made more immersive via virtual reality. In 2014 we expect games coming to market catering for a wider age range of teens through to adults, with the kids market becoming active from 2015. Continue reading →

Consumer Virtual Reality market worth $5.2bn by 2018

That’s one of the headline findings from our latest market sizing report on the Consumer Virtual Reality market. As part of our latest KZero report – Consumer Virtual Reality, State of the Market, we’ve assessed both hardware and software forecasted sales from 2014 to 2018 (order the free State of the Market report for complete findings or view the Slideshare presentation).

Unit Sales and Primary Markets

This article drills into some of the detail of our market sizing. First up, unit sales of consumer VR devices (hardware), as shown in the chart below.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 11.06.22

We’ve split the primary audience for consumer VR into three main groups (Hardcore gamers/Innovators), Light Gamers/Early Adopters and the Kids,Tween and Teen (KT&T) segment. Shown right are annual forecasted unit sales.

On an overall basis, we estimate 2014 unit sales of 200k (all from the Hardcore Gamer / Innovator segment), as the market begins to emerge.

From here, 2015 sales are forecasted at 5.7m units rising to 23.8m in 2018. Total cumulative units sold from 2014 to 2018 equals 56.8m devices. This is broken out as 10.9m units from Hardcore Gamers, 18.1m from Light Gamers and 27.7m from the KT&T segment.

Hardware Revenues

Applying a starting selling price point of $300 in 2014, falling circa $50 per year through to 2018 (we’ve factored in a continuing fall in the retail price as more companies enter the market and drive competition), the chart below presents revenues from device sales (hardware revenue). 2014 hardware revenue is calculated at $60m in total.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 11.06.42

As unit sales increase, total hardware revenues grow to $1.4bn in 2015 (from 5.7m purchased devices), through to $2.1bn 2016, and $2.4bn in 2017.

Full year 2018 hardware revenue from devices sales is estimated at $2.3bn, creating total cumulative hardware revenues (2014 – 2018) of $8.4bn. This is broken out as $1.6bn units from Hardcore Gamers, $2.5bn from Light Gamers and $4.2bn from the KT&T segment.

The Software Side (Games and Apps)

Of course, once you’ve got a consumer virtual reality device you need games, apps and other software to ‘do stuff’! So, we’ve also assessed the software side of the market. To calculate software revenues we’ve created an active user forecast (on the basis that a single device will have more than one user) and applied forecasted ARPPU data in order to determine revenues.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 11.06.55The chart above shows annual software sales of games and apps for consumer virtual reality. We estimate 2014 software revenue at $30m in 2014, from 600k active users. This increases to $947m in 2015 from 15.7m active users.

Total 2018 annual software revenue is forecasted at $2.8bn from 47.6m active users. Cumulative software revenue from 2014 to 2018 is estimated at $7.7bn.

This is broken out as $1.4bn software revenue from Hardcore Gamers, $2.4bn from Light Gamers and $3.8bn from the KT&T segment.

Applying hardware and software sales together yields the total revenue market size for consumer virtual reality and this is shown in the chart below.

Summary

2014 total revenue is estimated at $90m, 2015 $2.3bn, 2016 $3.8bn, 2017 $4.6bn and 2018 calculated at $5.2bn. Cumulatively across the period of 2014 to 2018 we have forecasted the consumer virtual reality market to be worth $16.2bn.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 11.07.02

Order our full State of the Market Report and Marketing Sizing Analysis here.

Further information:

Consumer Virtual Reality – State of the Market report

The Consumer Virtual Reality sector is gaining momentum and 2014 will be the year we see the first devices made available to the public. Of course, VR is a technology that has been around for a little while but more within the enterprise and military sectors. With gaming companies looking for the next competitive edge and other newer companies raising funding to open up the consumer market, expect a lot of activity in the Consumer Virtual Reality Device sector this year.

And it’s not just the devices (hardware) that will enter the market. An emerging ecosystem of supporting companies – game developers, body/motion tracking start-ups and last but not least players will be diving into the consumer VR space.

We’re been hard at work for a while now gathering our thoughts and insight into consumer VR and our new report: Consumer Virtual Reality – the State of the Market is now available to order.

The report is aimed at C-level execs, marketers and IP owners looking to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the consumer virtual reality market and lays-out the key fundamentals of the space.

The report contains the following sections: Continue reading →