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Today GlobalWebIndex publishes Trends 17 – our examination of the trends to watch in 2017. Trends 17 is free to download here, and for the next two weeks Chart of the Day will be previewing insights from this report – starting today with the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.

The buzz surrounding VR and AR has been intensifying for some time, but it’s difficult to ignore the hurdles that stand in the way of it achieving mainstream adoption.

The biggest of all is a lack of quality, compelling content. Investment may have poured into the hardware supporting the tech, but the same cannot be said for the content across different genres. Cost is also an obvious barrier for VR. On top of the state-of-the-art hardware required to support it, starting prices for Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive hover in the region of $600-800.

This is where AR has an obvious advantage: its addressable market is much bigger given that it can already be used via any connected device – which virtually every internet user now owns. Smartphone ownership is near-universal across the regions (reaching as high as 95% in APAC and the Middle East), and given that all you need is a phone screen to experience AR on-the-go, its strengths are plain to see.

This focus on mobile is a lesson for VR, especially as these devices are likely to be the first port-of-call for the majority of VR users. Although many were unimpressed by the cardboard-box-strapped-to-your-face approach of Google Cardboard, this is something that Google’s new Daydream is hoping to rectify as it bridges the gap between mobile and tethered high-end VR.

Download a free copy of our Trends 2017 report here.

Trends 17: Are VR and AR Here to Stay? Download the new Trends 17 Report!

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