The early excitement surrounding AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) has prompted some substantial bets from major players, including Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and Facebook. ABI Research (www.abirsearch.com) says Microsoft’s Hololens will likely be a major driver of consumer AR devices, while Google Cardboard will continue to be the first choice for an inexpensive VR experience (estimated to ship around 1.5 million units by then end of 2015), and will join Samsung’s Gear VR in driving mobile-reliant device growth.
The Oculus Rift, along with similar devices like the HTC Vive or Sony’s Project Morpheus, will be dominant among tethered devices and will drive early growth, with their successors likely continuing that lead in the space, according to the research group. These tethered VR devices are forecast for the highest growth among VR device types — 128% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) 2014 to 2020) — but ultimately mobile VR devices will ship more units total (25 million in 2020).
Virtual reality devices as a whole are expected to grow rapidly over the next five years, with an average CAGR of 106% and combined shipments of 43 million in 2020, according to ABI Research. Augmented reality smart glasses will experience similar growth, and ship 21 million units in 2020 with a CAGR of 78%.
“Sales of VR Head Mounted Displays, including mobile-based devices like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard, as well as tethered devices like the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus, will be driven by the release of high-profile devices and a growing awareness and interest in the technology from consumers,” says Eric Abbruzzese, research analyst, ABI Research.