Some gamers have called out VR (virtual reality) as a gimmick or simply the current technological trend being pushed by the games industry. Sony has arguably enjoyed the best mainstream success with its PlayStation VR but the problem remains with the lack of software to support the already impressive hardware. Recent statistics have shown that VR will be overtaken by AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) by 2021.
According to statistics provided by SuperData, AR and MR revenue is projected to double to a whopping $3.2 billion in 2018. These earnings will be made possible thanks to revenue from mobile AR/MR games like the highly-successful Pokemon Go. Games are the biggest contributor to the industry as a whole with 58 percent of software revenue.
Meanwhile, VR software reached $554 million in revenue in 2017, with games alone contributing as much as 55 percent. In comparison to AR/MR which is dominated by mobile gaming, VR is dominated by PC and console platforms, specifically the HTC Vive and PS VR.
VR Falling Behind AR: Bethesda King Of VR Games
Bethesda was the most successful game publisher in VR gaming last year, thanks to Fallout 4 VR and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR becoming 2017’s highest-earning PC and console VR title respectively. Fallout 4 VR earned $4.7 million while Skyrim VR made roughly half of that amount with $2.2 million. Games which managed to break into both the top-earning PC and console VR title lists were Superhot VR and Job Simulator.
It looks like consumers are more willing to fork out money for VR/AR/MR games compared to more conventional fare like VR movies. However, the VR games industry will need to do even more to ensure that it stays relevant and avoid fading into obscurity like motion control gaming. To revitalize VR gaming, we require more actual games being developed for VR and improve the currently-available hardware, which we recently mentioned as part of our predictions for PlayStation at E3 2018.