Although virtual reality and augmented reality markets have yet to really even get started, market advisor Digi-Capital’s estimation, is that these two markets combined will be $150 billion by the year 2020.
Augmented reality is technology that allows you to enhance your virtual reality experience by adding virtual overlay glasses, allowing the world to be presented to you in a new and exciting way. Virtual reality allows you only use virtual reality goggles. The managing director of Digi- Capital, Tim Merel, thinks that augmented reality will beat out virtual reality by four times, making it worth $120 billion, leaving virtual reality just a niche market by 2020, worth only a measly $30 billion.
Merel is ecstatic about the augmented and virtual reality markets. “There are amazing early stage platforms and apps, but the VR/AR in 2015 feels a bit like the smartphone market before the iPhone,” said Merel. Merel believes that as soon as the technology of these markets really gets going, it will eat up the markets which are already in existence, and grow new ones at the same time, by as soon as next year.
While both AR and VR headsets allow for high definition 3D video and audio, with VR you are completely closed off from the world and totally immersed, whereas AR lets you see both around and through it. VR is more about placing people into new worlds; AR instead places virtual items into the person’s actual world, making everything the user encounters feel like it is on a grander scale.
While some think that the small distinctions between VR and AR aren’t enough to warrant such a gigantic market difference, Merel seems almost certain that AR could take over not only the virtual reality market, but also leech into the tablet and smartphone markets as well. He says this could be huge for Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.
Only time will tell just how enormous these markets become, but the excitement among technology users is definitely growing by leaps and bounds.