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June 14, 2016
Facebook, Bethesda Softworks and Sony are among the names to have announced new made-for-VR games at E3.
Facebook has launched 30 made-for-VR games for the Oculus Touch as it continues efforts to diversify its portfolio. Aside from those being released in the coming months, the Oculus team have also stated it has ‘hundreds’ more titles in the pipeline, though it hasn’t established when the Touch motion controllers might ship. The announcement also included the launch of Oculus Ready PCs, made by Alienware, Lenovo, and HP.
Bethesda Softworks also claims its Fallout 4 will become first big open-world game to get an official, studio-released virtual reality mode, as well as Sony announcing its Resident Evil title will receive the ‘full VR experience’.
While the shift towards VR and AR offers healthy potential for brands and gaming companies alike, it could present the same challenges for network players as the rise of mobile. VR could provide similar stress on the network as smartphone mass-adoption and the subsequent reduction in the price of data did. Deloitte estimates 2.5 million VR headsets and 10 million game copies could be sold in 2016 alone.
From a VR perspective, the gaming industry represents a healthy opportunity for brands such as Oculus. Research from intelligence firm Newzoo estimates gamers worldwide could generate a total of $99.6 billion in revenues in 2016, up 8.5% compared to 2015. Mobile will account for $36.9 billion, exceeding PC revenues for the first time, and growth is expected to continue at a healthy 6.6% CAGR through to 2019, potentially reaching $118.6 billion in total.
When will VR hit mainstream?
1-2 years (67%, 8 Votes)
Its mainstream now (17%, 2 Votes)
3-5 years (17%, 2 Votes)
More than 5 years (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 12
One of the main challenges for the VR industry currently is the levels of adoption and normalization of the technology itself. Currently the hardware is generally perceived as a luxury item and VR revenues will remain marginal for the short- to mid-term future until uptake has moved into the mainstream market. Newzoo expect the majority of revenues to be generated by hardware sales, spectator content, and live viewing formats, though this is likely to be the platform where consumers communicate with each other and interact with content in the long run.
Elsewhere in the industry, Sony has confirmed its first steps into the world of high-end VR, by announcing the release of PlayStation VR. The headset will be available later this year; October 13th and will be priced at $499 when bundled with the camera and Move controllers it needs to be fully functional.
While Sony is slightly later to the market than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, should the team be able to capitalise on strong performance in recent months the move could prove to be a successful venture. During the final quarter of 2015, Sony’s gaming division reported a 10.5% year-on-year increase revenue brought on by strong PlayStation hardware and software sales totalling $4.89 billion. Operating income for the gaming unit was 45.5% higher owing partly to the fact the company sold more than sold over 35 million PlayStation 4 consoles.
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