According to SuperData's VR Gaming Market Brief 2016, the addressable audience for VR gaming across all devices should reach 56 million unique users by the end of this year with an installed base around 38.9 million. The firm estimates that the total VR gaming market will be worth $5.1 billion at year-end, with mobile being largely responsible for the market's growth.
"Initially, affordable smartphone devices will drive the bulk of sales as consumers first explore virtual reality before committing to the more expensive platforms," said SuperData Director of Research Stephanie Llamas. "After this first wave, consumers will likely move more high-end VR devices on PC."
While the buzz around Oculus, PlayStation VR and Valve's Vive headset is big in the industry, the market itself will get a push from nearly 30 million VR-equipped mobile devices, compared with only 6.6 million PCs and 1.9 million consoles. In terms of demographics, SuperData anticipates a much younger crowd driving the VR market, as 74 percent of US respondents under age 18 were "very interested" in VR; it seems the older the crowd, the less interest as that data point dropped to 65 percent for millennials, 54 percent for Gen Xers and only 42 percent for Baby Boomers.
2016 will definitely be an interesting year for the numerous game studios who've devoted themselves to new VR technologies. While some will reap rewards, others no doubt will be harmed by investing too much in VR too early on. SuperData noted that small studios and indies are currently developing 829 VR games, collectively, while most large publishers have decided to wait and see. Overall, total investments in virtual and augmented reality reached a combined $6.1 billion between 2012 and 2015.
"Investors are eager to see some initial proof of concept, hoping that consumers will quickly take to the new technology. In late November, the Samsung Gear VR did well when it was first released, selling out within 48 hours," SuperData observed.