Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are already both very profitable industries right now. Headsets from the main PC players Oculus and HTC cost over S$1000. Graphics cards from NVIDIA and AMD needed to power these headsets, aren’t much cheaper. Pokémon Go, the poster child of AR, drove Nintendo’s stock to twice it’s value in a week despite the company having nothing to do with the app. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that there are some big numbers being thrown about.
The potential AR/VR goldmine
IT consultant firm IDC Canada has just released data projections aiming to predict how valuable the new technologies can be. Called the Worldwide Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide, the analysts are predicting a market value of S$221billion. Current valuation for 2016 is S$7.08billion for 2016. If the numbers add up, IDC is expecting compound growth of 181.3% every year until 2020. Even more amazing is the prediction that AR and VR hardware sales alone will make up half of all worldwide hardware.
Speaking to ITBuisness.ca, IDC analysts Krista Collins and Manish Nargas divide the potential investment opportunities in two. Short-term opportunities are mainly software, TV and film experiences. Essentially, this is what several developers are already working on. Long-term, Nargas and Collins believe that there are good opportunities in the automotive and healthcare industries. Studies and early tests focusing on mental health treatment with VR would support these claims. “There are a lot of opportunities to integrate VR and AR to really rethink how we live our lives, whether or not that’s for work purposes or personal purposes,” says Collins in the interview.
What this means for Singapore
Singapore might be a small market, but the technology scene is a vibrant one with many startups and innovators. There are already several companies tapping into the market potential of VR and AR. Hiverlab, for example, is focusing on storytelling capabilities of VR. In gaming, Gattai Games is creating a horror game Stifled with VR that attempts to visualize echo-location. Should the companies ride the market wave well, there are massive potential gains to be made by entrepreneurs and investors alike. Or it could be the next dot com bubble and crash horrifically.