A recent study by Juniper Research estimated that the revenues from VR-specific games will reach US$8.2 billion by 2023, rising from an expected US$1.2 billion in 2019. It argued that 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.
The report 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 report argued that low-cost mobile VR content is needed to initially engage users and encourage them to other VR platforms.
The new research, Virtual Reality Markets: Innovation, Disruption & Future Prospects 2019-2023, forecasts that mobile VR will account for over 55% of total VR games revenues by 2023.
Research author Sam Barker explained: “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. 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 monetised 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 reasoned 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 capitalise on the anticipated growth of VR users.