Joel Breton is from HTC where he works on the Vive and is responsible for finding content for the system. He said that VR needs some “killer apps”, like Visicalc on the Apple ][ or the Super mario game on Nintentdo platforms. Gaming is a subset of VR, not the other way around, so the technology needs killer apps in professional and business applications as well as games.
In the end, many visual presentations and graphics are not reality – it’s all about fooling the brain into thinking that you are in a different reality. Breton said that he had a good experience at Namco in Japan which has developed very good ‘full presence’ content. There are three kinds of full presence content – personal, social and environmental. The more you can bring all three into the experience, the more immersive it is. VR parties where multiple people can try VR together are a way to develop interest in VR.
Breton showed a short extract of a Star Wars VR experience that will be available shortly. He gave nine tips for creating great VR content:
- Start prototyping at 90fps and keep it there. Better than trying to speed up later. Below that level, performance becomes unacceptable.
- Don’t use acceleration for movement in your world – use speed ‘switches’ to go from one speed to another when moving.
- Get to know and understand how to use room scale. If the movement in the real world and physical world is the same, then the experience is much more immersive.
- Motion controls really enhance full presence.
- Don’t bob the camera when the user’s character is walking or moving (it’s a technique often used in non-VR games)In VR, with full presence technology, the user is not just watching a character in a movie, so there is much more scope for other actions.
- Make the most of the efficiency that you can get from an engine such as Unity, Unreal, Crytek, Lumber or Stingray. They are all ready for VR apps.
- Use SDKs and Frameworks like Viveport SDK which add features in a VR environment
- You can exploit frameworks, genre engines and art assets from places such as the Unity store
Education is expected to be a $700 million market by 2025 as there are globally 740 million students. There are good opportunities in higher education. Sports video and live streaming has a great opportunity as the live sports ticketing market is a $44 billion opportunity. VR entertainment is forecast to be $3.2 billion in 2025.
Social networking will also be a big opportunity and key players include VR Chat, Altspace VR, Atom Universe and Envelop. VR Retail is likely to grow to $500 million in 2020 to $1.6 billion in 2025. Ikea has an app already using VR to test different layouts and fixtures and is expected to add access to its online ordering in the future.
Engineering and Design is a clear opportunity and companies such as Autodesk and Dassault are working very hard to develop VR design using headsets for 3D. Revenues are expected to be $1.5 billion in 2020 and $4.7 billion in 2025. Although these companies have been doing this for some time with CAVEs, VR headsets open up the market.
Healthcare should be a $3.8 billion market by 2020, and this is the top vertical market after games. There are many different applications and clear benefits.
Military and defence has been in VR for a long time and the opportunity is estimated at $15.8 billion globally by 2025. The military already spends ‘huge’ amounts on training.
Real Estate should be a $750 million market by 2020, with growth to $2.6 billion by 2025. This will start at the high end.
Theme parks are already using VR, with 11 already active in the US and the rest about to start using VR.
Gaming is an $11.6 billion gaming market as soon as 2020 and 40% of gamers are expected to buy a VR headset in the next 12 months.
HTC has a $100 million “kickstarter” fund to boost the availability of content.
Breton said that PCs for VR cost from around $1,000 but new graphics cards from Nvidia will really enable much wider adoption and use because of the lower cost.