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Riccitiello: VR will be mainstream by 2020

Unity boss believes virtual reality will reach 100m users within the next four years, doesn't expect “explosive growth in 2017”

John Riccitiello believes mainstream adoption of virtual reality is just a few years away, and that it will eventually be led by non-games applications.

During an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit yesterday, spotted by GamaSutra, the Unity CEO was asked his thoughts on the future of VR and whether it will be embraced by a broader audience.

"I think VR will be mainstream - meaning 100m consumers using the tech regularly - by 2020," he wrote. "And I believe that within ten years, we will see more than 1bn consumers globally using VR apps."

He later added that he is "a huge believe, long-term, in [augmented and virtual reality]", but observed that it will be a slow burner.

"I think it is going to take a few years for these platforms to reach audiences of tens or hundreds of millions like today's game consoles, or even billions like mobile does today," he continued. "2017 will be a growth year, but likely not explosive growth. Watch for big/massive games in three to five years."

Like several leading games engine firms, Unity has a vested interest in watching virtual reality grow and reach more users. The firm has invested $181m in virtual and augmented reality initiatives in 2016, and has also just launched a new Unity editor that can be used within VR itself.

Riccitiello also predicted that while video games makes up the majority of the virtual reality market at the moment, he believes non-game applications will become the dominant force in the market in the long run.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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