How lucrative was the market for virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) apps in 2017? According to research firm IHS Markit, it was worth $3.2bn, representing 72% growth from 2016.
Of that, $2bn came from apps with AR features – a category that includes the Pokémon Go mobile game.
The report also has some figures on the VR headsets market, with IHS Markit claiming that by the end of 2017 there were 28m VR headsets in people’s hands (well, on their faces) compared to 18m at the end of 2016.
IHS Markit is predicting strong growth for this particular metric though: it reckons there’ll be 75.7m VR headsets in use by the end of 2021, thanks in part to the emergence of ‘standalone’ headsets like the Oculus Go, which offer high-quality VR without having to be tethered to a computer or games console.
As for AR? “Consumer use of AR technology will be dominated by smartphones over the next few years,” said analyst Piers Harding-Rolls. “AR headsets are making progress, but we expect to find early consumer traction within niche applications — such as training for sports and drone flying — but not as devices for general use.”