The virtual reality (VR) race is on, with heavy hitters like Oculus (which was recently acquired by Facebook), Samsung, Sony and Google all fighting to be king of the VR hill.
One of the most exciting end-uses of VR, for both vendors and consumers, is gaming. Being immersed in an interactive virtual world is the dream for a lot of gamers, and an influx of new technology is now making this possible.
The global gaming market recorded a revenue share of $75.5 billion in 2013 and will reach $100 billion by 2019. VR vendors will definitely look to capitalize on this growth, and get in on the gaming action early on.
That being said, commercial VR gaming is still in its early stages, and mostly the domain of hard core gamers. The user base for VR gaming should hit around 25 million users by 2019. This sounds significant, but if you consider that there are about 1.6 billion gamers worldwide, this really only accounts for 1% of global gamers.
Even so, it’s certainly an exciting time for VR in gaming, with big and small vendors alike working to develop the best of the best. All this activity is leading to a CAGR of 52.34% in the global virtual reality in gaming market from 2014-2019.
With this in mind, Technavio analysts have prepared a quick cheat sheet on the VR market, outlining the key vendors and major milestones that anyone with a keen interest in virtual reality should be keeping a close eye on. Those in the know will see some very familiar names, and maybe a few unexpected ones as well.
The company offers Avegant Glyph, a VR headset that allows the user look above and below the visor to get a sense of what is going on around them. Glyph’s main differentiator with the Oculus Rift is that it allows the user to be aware of his or her surroundings, while the Oculus Rift is designed to shut out the world, creating an immersive illusion.
Avegant Glyph is used to stream video, play games, listen to music, browse email, or send text images by using the virtual display. Since the system is a plug-and-play device, it does not require special drivers or software to operate.
Beijing ANTVR Technology
Beijing ANTVR Technology is engaged in the research, development, and marketing of wearable visual devices.
The company’s key offerings include:
- ANTVR Helmet
- TAW-VR Headset for Smartphones
- ANTVR Camera
The ANTVR kit, which contains a VR headset, video driver box, remote controller, and lithium battery is compatible with the games designed for the Oculus Rift, most PCs, and console platforms. It can connect to devices that support HDMI, including desktop computers, XBox, PlayStation, iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and Blu-ray players. The kit also works with mobile games.
Carl Zeiss (ZEISS VR ONE)
The company offers ZEISS VR ONE, a VR headset used for videos, games, and AR. It also includes an application VR ONE Media Launcher, a central hub for launching VR apps on the smartphone.
ZEISS VR ONE supports smartphones with display sizes between 4.7 and 5.2 inch.
GameFace Labs develops a head-mounted device for next-generation VR Android gaming.
The head-mounted device is compatible with SDK (a software that supports the latest mobile game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine 4); Google VR Toolkit (any content created for the Google Cardboard solution will automatically work on the GameFace with no configuration); OSVR (designed for VR input devices, games, and output for providing gaming experience in the VR space). It is also compatible with all the key graphics and compute APIs such as OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenGL 4.5, Android Extension Pack (AEP), DirectX 12.0, and CUDA 6 (used in mobile applications); and Android(used in mobile devices).
The company offers Google Cardboard, which is a VR HMD that supports larger phones with screens up to 6 inches. Google Cardboard turns any Android device into a VR headset, and using the Cardboard app users can interact with various Google services.
VR company Magic Leap recently received $542 million in funding from Google. It released a video footage showing a gamer blasting away at robot invaders as they crash through the walls and drop from the ceiling of an ordinary looking office space.
HTC (HTC Vive)
In March 2015, HTC’s Vive headset was developed in collaboration with Valve, creators of ground-breaking games such as Portal and Half-Life. Vive is powered by Valve’s SteamVR that has plenty of games on the Steam service.
The company has content partners, which include Bossa Studios UK, Cloudhead Games, Dovetail Games, Fireproof Games, Google, HBO, Lionsgate, National Palace Museum, Owlchemy Labs, Skillman and Hackett, Steel Wool Games, Unreal, Vertigo Games, Wemo Labs, and Xunee.
HTC officially released the device during its Mobile World Congress keynote on March 1, 2015. Subsequent updates on Steam have indicated a potential release date of November 2015. Valve and HTC have since announced that the headset will be free for select developers.
ImmersiON-VRelia develops VR products and services. The company also designs AlterSpace (a content cloud-based platform) for the HMD developers.
The company’s key offering include:
- GO HMD, which turns the Android or iOS smartphone into a VR device. It works on a smartphone with 4-inch to 6-inch screen size such as Galaxy S4, S5, Note 3, 4, and iPhone. The device comes with clip attachments to allow the cell phones to fit securely into the GO device. The GO VR HMD along with gamepad kit is used as personal Immersive VR HMD that comprises gamepad controller for smartphones with 6-inch screen size.
- PRO G1 HMD|HUD, an AR and VR device; with HDMI resolution of 1080 x 1920 x 2, 123-degree FOV wide angle, Android, WiFi streaming, and stereo camera.
- BlueSky PRO HMD, which is a ruggedized HMD device with earphones, rigid headband, HDMI, resolution of 1080 x 1920 x 2, and 123 degree FOV wide angle.
Some of its compatible applications include proton pulse, GO show, VR player, LAPSO, VR MoonWalk, war of words VR, city monster VR, and four rooms.
Oculus VR (Subsidiary of Facebook)
The company launched a kickstarter campaign to fund the development of its first product, the Oculus Rift (an innovative VR headset for immersive gaming). It raised over $2.4 million from the support received from top video game companies such as Valve, Epic Games, and Unity.
Oculus VR offers VR gaming under three categories:
- Gear VR: An ultra-low latency, mobile VR DK powered by Oculus that is compatible with Samsung GALAXY Note 4 and delivers high-quality VR experiences for mobile users
- Oculus Rift(Oculus VR): The first product developed by the company, it is a VR HMD for 3D gaming
- DK2: The latest DK for the Oculus Rift (VR HMD developed by Oculus VR) that allows developers to build games and experiences for the consumer Oculus Rift
The consumer version of the Oculus Rift will launch in early 2016, with pre-orders being taken from late 2015.
Razer offers connected devices and software for gamers worldwide.
The company (along with Oculus VR) developed special edition of the VR headset for the Samsung Gear VR system. The device is also available with a game controller.
The company offers Durovis Dive for VR gaming. Durovis Dive is a hands-free smartphone holder that converts the smartphone or tablet to VR headset, which works with Android or iOS. It includes Dive Launcher, an application to play games. The Durovis Dive kit consists of the Durovis Dive Magnet Upgrade Kit, the Durovis OpenDive LensKit, and the Durovis Dive Lens Upgrade Kit.
On March 4, 2015 at GDC 2015 (Game Developers Conference), the company confirmed that a commercial version of Project Morpheus will go on sale in 2016, but the exact release date wasn’t announced.
Virtuix develops and manufactures VR interface for motion games.
The company’s key offering includes:
Vrizzmo develops VR goggles, which turns a smartphone into a wireless VR headset.
The company’s VR headset has two built-in buttons working with software applications. It is used for movies, spherical, panoramic, 2D and 3D videos, and gaming. Its solutions provide the best optics, and its dual lens system cause less image distortion. The Vrizzmo VR headset is available in different colors and designs.
The different types of Vrizzmo VR headsets are:
- VRIZZMO Imperial Black
- VRIZZMO Fire and Ice
- VRIZZMO Fractal
- VRIZZMO Triangle
- VRIZZMO Imperial Black Plus
- VRIZZMO Custom
For more on the virtual reality for gaming market, check out Technavio’s new report.