Virtual Reality for the Entertainment Market: All You Need to Know to Make Investment Decisions

Anastasia Morozova
Anastasia Morozova
Chief Operating Officer

People spend a lot of time and money on video games, social networks, cinema, amusement parks, music concerts, and sports games. Most likely, virtual reality will not replace these entertainments, but it can make them more inclusive and immersive.

In the last few years, using virtual reality for entertainment has been mainly experimental. Now the VR entertainment market is entering the commercial stage and boasting some profitable projects.

Let’s look at the various virtual reality entertainment options to make proper investment decisions.

What is the volume of investments in the VR for entertainment?

The Venture Reality Fund states that the total investment in the VR industry reached $2.3 billion in 2017.

Almost half of all investments in virtual reality fall on the entertainment sphere. According to Kaleidoscope’s research, in 2017, more than $1 billion was invested in VR entertainment.

The Kaleidoscope’s experts forecast that in the coming years, investors will have a significant choice of virtual reality projects that can bring income.

An increase in the creation of more lifelike VR entertainment experiences will engage more consumers and boost the commercial success of the virtual entertainment industries.

virtual reality headsets

What area of VR entertainment will be growing the fastest?

The VR gaming market generates the highest income compared to other virtual reality entertainments. In 2017, the virtual reality gaming industry made $2.2 billion.

At the same time, more than 35 games have earned over $1 million, which is an indicator of healthy competition and the potential of the VR gaming market.

PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and Xbox virtual reality games bring the highest revenue. The consoles attract hardcore players, who are willing to pay for expensive lifelike VR games.

Not all players can afford to buy a high-end virtual reality headset and VR controller. However, budget virtual reality glasses, such as Google Cardboard Glasses, allow them to try VR apps with minimal costs.

Also, arcades – location-based VR entertainment centers, help promote virtual reality games. In the VR arcade, a user can enjoy immersive experiences for a reasonable fee.

virtual reality apps gaming

What types of entertainment can VR be used for?

Virtual reality has an extensive application. With its help, traditional types of entertainment can take a new dimension.

Virtual worlds

Virtual reality is often blamed for leading people to isolation. On the other hand, it can also unite people in virtual worlds.

VR worlds are online virtual reality social platforms where people can interact with each other. Communication in the virtual spaces is much like communication in the real world, but it provides almost unlimited possibilities in the choice of settings and ways of spending time.

Neurons Inc conducted a survey of USA residents who have never used virtual reality and describe themselves as the late adopters. This study of social interaction revealed that 59% of the respondents consider virtual reality as the desired way of communicating with friends and family who are far away.

Interest in VR worlds is fueled by the IT market giants, planning to build a strong VR community. For example, Facebook is now actively promoting its social media VR app Facebook Space.

Microsoft also believes in the great future of virtual networks. That’s why Microsoft acquired a popular social VR platform AltspaceVR.

At the moment the prospective areas for the development of virtual reality worlds are more photorealistic three-dimensional avatars and the creation of exciting and detailed locations.

virtual reality games

Theater

The incredible success of the New York show Sleep No More prompted tremendous interest in the immersive theater.

An immersive or interactive theater is a dramatic performance, where there is no traditional stage, and the audience is involved in the action.

Now the producers of the interactive theater shows are looking for ways to further immerse the audience into action. One such method is virtual reality.

Technical capabilities of VR can accurately convey the main features of the immersive theater, such as narrative, immersion, and interactivity.

Greenlight Insights research reveals that consumers are most interested in the VR theater among all virtual reality entertainment.

The survey covered more than 2,000 United States residents of different gender, age, and social standing. 66% of respondents were willing to visit the VR theaters.

The combination of theater and virtual reality can create a successful business model. The theatrical VR content supposes clear ways of monetization and can bring stable income for several years, unlike the VR movies, which become irrelevant very quickly due to the low involvement of viewers to the action.

Cinema

The location-based virtual reality entertainment industry is about to grow up to $825 million by 2021 according to Greenlight Insights’ forecasts. Cinema can become a leader in this emerging market.

Currently, the most successful adept of VR cinema is IMAX. Let’s look at how IMAX runs VR movie theaters to reveal the significant factors for their success.

It is crucial to choose proper hardware. For example, IMAX applies, among others, the StarVR headsets, which are not available for home use. Thus, it helps to attract VR-enthusiasts who want to try cutting-edge technology.

Unique content can also be a prominent competitive advantage. For instance, Justice League VR ⎼ the blockbuster created in the Warner Bros. partnership attracted a mass audience in Imax VR centers.

The popularity of multidimensional cinemas proves that viewers want to immerse themselves in the movie. Further development in this direction requires the creation of new forms of movie storytelling, which can involve a VR viewer in the action and make the VR movie experience truly immersive.

best virtual reality headsets

Museum

Usually, a museum is considered to be entertainment for academics and does not attract a wide audience. With the virtual reality technology, you can engage a large audience to visit the museum.

See also: How Museums Can Stay Relevant and Make Money on Virtual Reality Technology

Museums can use virtual reality apps for the location-based virtual reality entertainment.

For example, the British Museum used VR devices to engage adults and children with their Bronze Age collections. Visitors in the virtual reality headset could walk through the ancient landscape and interact with the artifacts using a VR controller.

Many museums create their virtual reality applications for desktops and mobile devices. After the launch of such virtual applications, museum representatives note an increase in the museum attendance.

Amusement park

Amusement parks are designed to give people an unusual experience, entertainment, and exciting sensations. This market has very tough competition, with the increasing difficulty to amaze visitors.

The combination of virtual reality and rides creates a unique experience and can highlight your amusement park amidst traditional entertainment.

Theme parks are trying to carry visitors to an unusual setting. A virtual reality headset truly immerses a user in another world. Moreover, it is much cheaper than the creation of material objects and visual effects.

You can create several temporary versions of virtual applications, for example, for Halloween or Christmas, and provide users with the most relevant experience.

Usually, consumers enjoy VR attractions, though advanced users often expect more interaction.

Also, do not forget that rides can cause vertigo or sickness. Therefore, it is necessary to take care that virtual reality headsets you use are high-quality and comfortable for visitors.

vr apps entertainment

Gallery

Creating a VR application for a gallery is a long-term investment, which will help you gain customer attention and build your loyal audience. Let’s see how you can use VR in the gallery business.

The most apparent use of VR is a virtual tour around the gallery. Such virtual reality tours allow people to enjoy the art without having to stand in lines, pursue masterpieces, and sometimes even interact with them.

In addition to this, galleries are experimenting with the development of complex interactive VR applications, for example, where the user can create compositions using some patterns.

The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow created such a VR app to engage their wide audience with art. Wearing virtual reality glasses, app users create their paintings in the manner of famous artists and can share them on social media.

Most likely, the VR application itself will not bring profit. Still, it is a powerful marketing tool to increase awareness and attract a large number of visitors to your gallery.

vr reality development entertainment

Live music concerts

Competition in the music industry forces producers and musicians to endless experiments in search of means to keep up with the trend and be attractive to the audience.

Let’s look at how the music industry can make use of virtual reality.

Today, major music festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, Tomorrowland, Sziget Festival have their VR applications or 360-degree videos. Virtual reality solutions help to scale the festivals, even more, increase their audience and earn on the sale of VR music content.

Top artists, for example, Paul McCartney, U2, Björk, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons present their live performances through VR. With the virtual reality headset, spectators are virtually transported to the best seats to immerse in the concert.

The VR viewers pay for watching concerts (subscription fee or pay-per-views). It brings income to both the artist and the platform hosting VR concerts.

A promising direction of VR music performances is fully simulated virtual reality concert. It means that three-dimensional images of artists and the environment around them are created for the show.

Thus, VR viewer can visit, for example, a recording studio of the favorite artist and get an entirely new immersive experience in a musical performance.

vr in entertainment

Live sports games

Sports games are the other live events that are popular in a 360-degree format. A person only needs to wear a virtual reality headset to become a VR viewer.

Now, to make a profit from broadcasting VR sports games, it’s enough to place advertising and take a fee for the possibility of viewing the game through a VR app.

Few companies are already broadcasting virtual reality professional sports games.

Facebook, for instance, is now streaming VR baseball and VR football games through the platform Oculus Venues. This virtual reality streaming service promises to bring the stadium experience to everybody’s home.

Of course, at the moment, the emotions that the VR football viewer feels are different from those that the real viewer experiences on the field.

Actions on the sports field occur very quickly, so spherical cameras are not able to capture the image and correctly transmit it to the viewer.

Further development of motion capture will significantly increase the realism of VR live sports games.

vr videos

Hobby lessons

Virtual reality hobby lesson is a perfect mix of education and entertainment, which is often called edutainment. Usually, virtual reality edutainment is used as a marketing tool to promote products and build brands.

VR hobby lesson can be a training video in a 360-degree format. Or it can be an interactive VR application, which is more effective in immersing the user in a virtual environment.

To watch a VR video, a user only needs to wear virtual reality glasses. And to interact with the VR app, a VR controller is required as well.

Virtual reality hobby lessons are great for all age categories. But so far the market has very few proposals for children.

If your business is related to children products, VR app in the form of a virtual reality game for kids can help you stand out against similar companies.

vr games

Games

New genres of VR games replicate traditional game genres. Therefore, innovative VR games, in particular using specific properties of virtual reality, such as haptic feedback or recognition of smells and flavors, can make a real breakthrough in the industry.

The market of virtual reality games for kids is also poorly developed. For a pleasant game experience, a child needs a special small sized virtual reality headset for kids.

The development of virtual reality games for kids is no more difficult than developing games for adults. However, the competition in this market is still low, which gives certain competitive advantages.

Job Simulator, developed by the Owlchemy Lab, is the game, which managed to become a hit among children and adults.

This game became a bestseller and earned more than $3 million in revenue. Job Simulator encourages players to experiment for completing funny tasks, teaches positive role models and is easy to play regardless of age.

Summing up

The combination of the emotional entertainment industry and virtual reality technologies creates products with extraordinary commercial potential.

Entertainment and virtual reality industries stimulate each other’s growth, attracting more and more consumers.

Therefore, traditional venture capital funds and innovative accelerators invest money in VR entertainment.

If you need consultations what type of virtual reality entertainment to choose, feel free to contact us. We will help you make a reasonable investment decision.

Get our fresh tech stories delivered to your inbox!