Virtual reality is finally going to crack the mass market, according to Juniper Research. The firm's latest research report predicts that by 2020, the VR industry will have shipped 30 million headsets globally.
"The recent attention to and investment into virtual reality is helping to revitalise the industry and with major brand commercial launches imminent, there is huge potential for rapid market expansion," said Joe Crabtree, one of the report's authors.
While VR has come and gone as a fad in the past, Juniper expects it to stick around this time thanks to lower display latency, better graphics, and the backing of major players like Facebook, HTC, and Sony, all of whom are prepping VR headset launches in the next year. Juniper cites 2016 as "a watershed year" for the technology, with shipments of about 3 million headsets around the world.
Initially, Juniper expects VR "to transform the entertainment industry," with games and video being the two major applications driving adoption of the technology. However, the firm also expects to see VR put to use in industrial and healthcare capacities in short order.
Juniper also expects the price of VR headsets to come down dramatically by 2020. If the 30 million projected headsets retailed for the $300 expected in the first wave of launches, that would put hardware sales through 2020 at $9 billion. However, Juniper is only forecasting retail hardware revenue from the headsets to exceed $4 billion within five years.