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Virtual reality growth driven by entertainment and enterprise markets

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Investment and growth in virtual and augmented reality technology continues to accelerate thanks to growing demand in the entertainment and enterprise markets, according to a report from a leading venture capital firm that specializes in the space.

The Venture Reality Fund makes the claim in its VR industry landscape report for the second half of 2017, highlighting a range of industry numbers covering 450 companies that are developing infrastructure, tools, platforms and applications for the VR ecosystem.

“Already topping $2.3 billion this year, global investment in VR and AR is tracking higher than any previous period, and at a more accelerated pace,” Tipatat Chennavasin, co-founder and general partner at The VR Fund, said in a statement. “The VR industry is healthy and growing steadily and we are seeing increased investor interest from traditional venture funds and new VR and AR focused funds alike.”

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Growth in the market is being led by apps and content for the entertainment industry, which grew 79 percent for the half year, along with enterprise demand, which rose 69 percent. Not far behind was growth in tools and platform development, up 56 percent, followed by infrastructure for tethered head-mounted displays, up 47 percent.

On the enterprise front, the report noted that global companies such as Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and Accenture PLC have now entered the market, though most of the growth in the sector was still driven by startups.

Looking forward, the report found that growth ahead will be driven on a number of fronts, including enterprises embracing the new Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality headsets along with a shift in investment from 360-degree video to true VR.

“An increase in the creation of better, more lifelike and engaging entertainment and educational experiences for consumers and the enterprise will continue to boost growth across multiple categories and industries,” the report concluded.

Photo: ESA/Wikimedia Commons; image: VRFund

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