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We’re Seriously Underestimating the Virtual-Reality Market

We re Seriously Underestimating the Virtual Reality Market Re code

We re Seriously Underestimating the Virtual Reality Market Re code


I believe this analysis seriously undervalues the VR market, because it overlooks two key fundamentals. First, it assumes that VR hardware will generally resemble the Oculus Rift — a fully immersive, wraparound headset. And second, it doesn’t really consider the enterprise market. For many professionals, the ability to visually demonstrate concepts and create situational awareness from a distance will be huge drivers of VR adoption.

Most of the VR prototypes we’ve seen so far use a wraparound headset. But this “shut out everything” hardware paradigm could seriously limit adoption, especially in consumer markets. There’s actually an emerging category of virtual experiences that allow a user to experience digital objects as if they were real, without the need for a wraparound headset. There hasn’t been as much chatter about it, but “non-enveloping” VR could be one of the biggest, most important parts of this new wave of digital-analog world interfaces.

What does non-enveloping VR look like? This video from zSpace shows an example, where students can collaborate around a virtual experience — separate from the real world, but not totally isolated from it. Unlike wraparound experiences, non-enveloping VR can be fully collaborative, allowing multiple people to view the same images at the same time.

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If this is true, augmented reality is a way bigger market than I realized. 

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