Virtual reality was made popular by video gaming. Let’s be honest, it was probably invented for the sole purpose of playing games! But there’s a world of opportunities out there for developers and studios who are willing to turn their attention on creating VR content for enterprise and the commercial sector.
Opportunities that are going mostly ignored.
The Business of Virtual Reality
In just the next three years, the VR market is expected to octuple in value to just under $40 billion, and a major part of that growth will come from non-gaming applications of the tech.
Social and entertainment apps are set to be big drivers, of course, and they’re closely tied to gaming, and to the primary outlets that currently provide VR content to consumers.
But should you continue to compete in the busy, top heavy games arena, or consider turning your VR content creation skills into a thriving business through the commercial sector? There are a growing number of incredibly lucrative markets that want into the VR and AR craze, and they’re struggling to find people who are able and willing to build the applications they need.
VR is making huge strides in surgery, patient recovery, pain management and across the entire healthcare sector. Now all it needs are developers to build the apps.
Take your pick from the markets that are already investing heavily in VR, despite their difficulties in finding developers to support them:
- Real estate
These sectors currently occupy about 15–20 percent of the total VR landscape, with games at around 50 percent. So yes, they’re definitely the niche markets right now, but we all know that niche is the new mass market.
Turning in the commercial sector’s direction still puts you in the running for a share of around $1 billion in investment capital (and that’s if you started work today on an enterprise VR app; this figure is rapidly on the rise) and you’d be entering a far less competitive marketplace, making it easier to get established and rise to the top.
No indie studio can afford to overlook those kinds of wide open opportunities, right?
Choose Your Tech Wisely
One thing to consider, if you decide to test the enterprise waters, is that funding for virtual reality development is slowing down. This refers to content that takes place entirely within the HMD and a fully generated environment, much as the majority of games do.
A lot of enterprise applications aim more toward augmented reality (and some are leaning toward the slightly controversial “mixed reality” terminology, but being a dev you can navigate that colloquial speed bump without difficulty, I’m sure) as demonstrated by a surge in anticipated funding for this type of tech.
Investment in the actual technology appears to have plateaued to some small degree already, but that’s no bad thing. It means the existing platforms, and a few new ones, are primed for you to create long-term content for, as they aren’t likely to change all that much and whip the rug out from under you.
Similarly, VR enterprise is expected to overtake games funding significantly between now and 2020. Moving away from gaming and building the right app, on the right tech, for the right market could be the move that turns your struggling studio into a serious and sustainable business.
VR Sector Selection
So, which direction do you head in if you do decide to move away from the VR games sector and toward enterprise? That’s probably not a question we can answer for you, but you already know where your interests are and what skill sets are at your disposal. Then it’s just a case of matching them to the right sector and the people within it.
A recent survey by SuperData could be of some assistance here.
It takes a look at the various industries that are showing interest in the adoption of VR technology within their respective businesses, and the number of software developers who are supporting the VR content creation scene. The gaps in some sectors are enticingly huge.
Education showed the biggest need, with a whopping 81 percent of surveyed businesses expressing their VR aspirations. Yet only 24 percent of content creators are catering for the eager education market, demonstrating a huge and willing audience that’s already primed yet has astonishingly few VR developers to draw upon.
Healthcare is in a similar situation, with only 16 percent of existing VR developers creating content for an industry that shows a 70 percent interest in adopting the technology.
Engineering is also suffering this shortcoming, with 42 percent of the market saying it wants VR and AR content, but only 31 percent of creators are delivering.
So if your games just can’t compete with the AAA’s domination, or all the good ideas seem to have been taken and copied ad nauseum, the time’s never been better to get in on the ground floor of commercial VR and AR development.
And, of course, WEARVR is still there to help you distribute and promote your VR and AR apps across all these exciting sectors.