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SuperData: Mobile AR to generate more revenue than VR by 2021

But virtual reality set for a strong year in 2019, with Oculus Quest expected to outsell Rift by three to one

Augmented reality mobile apps are on course to be the driving force of the extended reality market within just three years, according to research firm SuperData.

In the Nielsen-owned outlet's latest XR projections, revenues from mobile AR are due to double year-on-year as they reach $2 billion by the end of 2018.

By 2021, mobile AR revenues are predicted to pass $17 billion - if they do, they will generate more than virtual reality for the first time.

This forecast growth is attributed to the steadily increasing userbase available to mobile AR developers. With both Apple's ARKit and Google's ARCore now reaching a combined 117 million users per month, and more than 3,000 apps supporting this tech, more developers are focusing on augmented reality.

But that's not to say virtual reality won't have its moments of glory. SuperData's head of XR Stephanie Llamas claims 2019 "will be the year of VR", thanks to the launch of Oculus Quest.

Announced earlier this month, the standalone headset ships next year with an estimated one million units due to arrive by 2020. SuperData expects Quest to outsell Rift by three to one in its launch year, with combined sales to projected to reach close to 2.5 million units worldwide in 2019.

Sales of these devices alone will contribute to VR revenue more than doubling next year, with SuperData believing Quest "has the potential to bring VR into the mainstream."

Finally, location-based VR attractions and arcades are expected to continue growing, with revenues on course to almost double in the next three years, reaching $854 million by 2021.

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