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Newzoo released a new report this week, predicting the near future of the virtual reality market, both for hardware and games. Among other things, the analysis predicts that revenue from VR games could rise to $3.2 billion by 2024, with a whopping 46 million active headsets in use.
More specifically, Newzoo predicts that the VR market will reach $1.8 billion by 2022, with 27.7 million headsets in use. According to the analysis, standalone headsets and cloud streaming are making games more accessible, as is support for VR by popular game engines.
Notably, Newzoo notes that gaming is still the primary use case for virtual reality. Attending virtual events or traveling – perhaps the kind of use cases that predict metaverse adoption – are further down the list. The report also shows that 73% of headset users surveyed listed playing video games as one of their top hobbies.
As for games, the most popular genres seem to be adventure games, shooters, and sim titles. Titles like Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, No Man’s Sky, Boneworks, and Microsoft Flight Simulator offer a cross-section of the platform’s most popular titles.
The renewed interest in VR
Newzoo attributes the current rise of VR and its predictions to a number of factors. First, VR experienced the same pandemic-induced boom as the rest of gaming. Second, Meta’s release of the affordable Quest headsets provided consumers with a cost-effective way to play VR games. Those headsets also work without any other hardware, such as an expensive, powerful PC.
Third, Newzoo credits a VR “killer app” for moving hardware units. It specifically mentions Half-Life: Alyx, which it says harnesses the power of a major triple-A franchise. Personally, I’d call a game like Beat Saber before Half-Life: Alyx a VR killer app, if only because it’s available on the wireless headsets Newzoo praised for its accessibility.
In 2023, PlayStation plans to launch its PS VR2 headset for PS5 users along with several new exclusive games. Meta also recently launched the Quest Pro headset. Either one could get more gamers into VR, though Newzoo also notes the rise of companies like Pico.
It’s worth noting that Newzoo claims the games market will decline overall this year, largely as the industry corrects after the aforementioned pandemic boom. Newzoo didn’t factor in VR hardware in that prediction.
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