Why Virtual Reality Could Become a $150 Billion Industry

Virtual Reality (VR) is undoubtedly one of the coolest growing industries today. For those who don’t know, VR is “the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.” The buzz began after Facebook’s 2014 $2 billion acquisition of VR pioneer Oculus. At Facebook’s developers conference, Zuck himself claimed that VR/Augmented Reality could take the lead on content down the road.

Most people often think of VR in its application to gaming and how it could revolutionize the gaming industry; however, this is unfairly limiting. VR could be a lot more engaging and subsequently lead to a much, much larger market. Imagine watching the NBA finals or the MLB World Series using an Oculus Rift. Envision yourself playing COD and actually being immersed in the world of your fictional character. Picture yourself spending hours mindlessly Netflix binging, only this time you’re actually on set.

Michael Scogin, the VP of Late Night at NBC, has been leading the charge to incorporate VR at NBC. As a result of his efforts, the 40th anniversary of SNL was captured using custom-built VR cameras. NBC isn’t alone; other content creators are experimenting with VR as both existing and new tech startups are developing revolutionary hardware.

That’s all great, but how big will the overall market actually get? This past week, advisory firm Digi-Capital forecasted that AR(Augmented Reality)/VR could hit $150B revenue by 2020. VR’s market could reach $30B and primarily focus on core games, 3D fims, and niche enterprise uses. AR would cater to a market similar to smartphone/tablet market and would comprise $120B of the $150B total market.

--Joshua Sakhai