Augmented reality market to be worth three times as much as virtual reality by 2020, says report
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Augmented reality market to be worth three times as much as virtual reality by 2020, says report

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An industry report on the virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) markets predicts that the sectors will be worth US$30bn (£22.7bn, €26.7bn) and US$90.8bn (£68.9bn, €80.9bn) respectively by 2020.

The report by, titled Global and China VR and AR Industry Report, 2016-2020, says VR will be less successful than AR due to the limitations of a head-mounted device owing to size and weight.

According to the report, VR will still be the driving force of the alternate reality medium until consumer-grade AR products can be created in terms of technology and prices of hardware. However, once the AR market matures it is expected to quickly capture and surpass VR, taking control of the sector in 2019 thanks to its applicability across multiple fields.

For 2016, the global VR market has been predicted to be valued at US$970m (€864m, £735m), while the AR market has been touted at US$500m (€445m, £379m). By 2020 those figures are expected to have increased drastically, with the VR market valued at US$30bn (€26.7bn, £22.7bn) and the AR market at US$90.8bn (€80.9bn, £68.8bn).

“Gradually-formed industrial standards raise the access threshold, thus eliminating less competitive teams and companies,” said the report. “Large companies will gradually build the perfect VR ecosystem. PC VR products, primarily games and movies, will be targeted at expert players and game enthusiasts. Mobile VR products will gradually move into business fields like education and tourism. As the number of content development teams increases, the scope of VR will broaden.”

For AR, the report says that the fusion of 3D visualisation technology and projection technology will change human/technology interaction.

“As AR evolves, gesture interaction will become more mature, changing the relationship between human and technology with human body language used to interact with technology products,” said the report, which added that “intelligent glasses” will be the mainstream trend of AR hardware, bracing the upcoming era of "decellphoneisation". Identified trends in the report also suggest that AR software will be more oriented toward consumer groups, growing daily in the aspects of shopping, entertainment, and education.

Earlier this year Deloitte predicted that VR would enjoy its first billion-dollar year, providing new opportunities to businesses that want to create more immersive experiences for consumers.

2016 has been hailed as the year of VR, which has been reflected in the attractions sector with the debut of a number of high profile VR attractions, such as Galactica at Alton Towers and Derren Brown’s Ghost Train at Thorpe Park.

A number of VR headsets have also been, or are about to be, released publically, with devices including Oculus Rift, Playstation VR and HTC Vive all available in 2016.

The AR market has been elevated significantly by the rise of Pokémon GO, with the mobile game taking the world by storm following its release earlier in the year. Secretive AR company Magic Leap has also been making waves, releasing impressive examples of its ‘mixed-reality’ device, most recently partnering with Lucasfilm and promising to deliver a “legacy of exploration and leadership” on the new platform for experiential storytelling.

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An industry report on the virtual and augmented reality markets predicts that the sectors will be worth US$30bn and US$90.8bn respectively by 2020.

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