A new study from Juniper Research finds that revenues from VR-specific games will reach $8.2 billion by 2023, rising from an expected $1.2 billion in 2019. The research group says development of smartphone VR content is essential to increase consumer confidence in VR across all platforms, following a disappointing year of hardware sales in 2018.

Juniper forecasts that over 100 million mobile VR devices, including smartphone and standalone headsets, will access games globally by 2023 — rising from 52 million devices in 2019. The research group says that low-cost mobile VR content is needed to initially engage users and encourage them to other VR platforms.

“Revenues from VR-specific mobile games will exceed $4.6 billion by 2023, however average revenue per mobile VR games user will be the lowest of all VR platforms, says research author Sam Barker. “In response, app developers must mitigate high app abandonment rates by providing engaging and continually-updated content.”

Juniper forecasts that more than 50% of mobile VR games accessed in 2019 will not be monetized due to the difficulty of implementing advertising in VR content without impeding the user experience. In response, app developers must leverage in-app purchases to recover this shortfall in potential advertising revenue.The research group adds that sustaining growth of VR hardware sales will only be achieved by creating a profitable VR content market. Juniper has identified 2023 as the year in which VR content revenues, including games, multimedia, gambling and others, will surpass hardware revenues for the first time. It recommended that VR headset vendors now focus on increasing their VR content libraries through app store partnerships to capitalize on the anticipated growth of VR users.