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You don’t need a virtual reality headset to be playing in the metaverse: from Fortnite and Roblox to The Sandbox and Decentraland. But Meta is pushing hard for VR to become more popular, and new figures from research firm IDC suggest it’s the dominant player for headset sales.

In fact, its latest report claims that Meta captured 90% of the market in the first quarter of this year, well ahead of second-placed Pico’s 4.5% – Pico being the startup recently acquired by TikTok parent ByteDance.

IDC is also predicting that 13.9m VR headsets will be shipped overall in 2022, up 26.6%, although it reckons that 2023 will be “the crucial year” for growing sales as Meta, Pico and Sony launch their next-generation devices, along with (perhaps) Apple’s long-rumoured AR/VR headset.

While we wait for that, take a look at the latest study by the Pew Research Center in the US. It asked 624 experts for their predictions about ‘the trajectory and impact of the metaverse’ by 2040. Among the findings: AR and MR [mixed reality] may be more significant than VR in the long term; fears about ‘surveillance capitalism’ and governmental overreach; and whether people will actually prefer being “mostly absorbed in the real world”. It’s a really interesting read.

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