Science and technology cloud report original.
In 1992, science fiction writer Stephenson described a virtual online world parallel to real life in his novel “Snow Crash”, in which people can work and play through digital images. And this online world is named “Metaverse”, which is what we often call the metaverse these days.
In 2018, “Ready Player One” was born. In the virtual world, the big boy Woz, who had no sustenance in real life and was addicted to the game, successfully cleared the game with in-depth analysis of the virtual game designer and became a superhero. In contrast to reality and virtuality, the metaverse elements in the film have once again become a hot topic of social discussion.
And just as Woz needs to wear VR equipment to enter the game, the development of the metaverse concept is also inseparable from the promotion of AR/VR technology.
Recently, with domestic and foreign giants such as Facebook, ByteDance, and Tencent competing to deploy the metaverse, the VR industry is also known as a key to open the door to the next new world.
Analyst firm Mordor Intelligence reports that the VR/AR market will reach US$184.66 billion in 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 48.7% from 2021 to 2026.
**The history of the rise and fall of the VR industry: booming in 2016, cold in 2018**
VR/AR was proposed as a new technology in 1968. Until 2014, the concept of VR/AR officially entered the market and was considered to be the next-generation general-purpose computing platform to replace smartphones.
Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have successively entered the VR/AR field, and many major manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung, and HTC have also launched related hardware products. The popularity of the VR/AR market once reached a high point.
In 2016, Sony, HTC, and Oculus launched the first-generation VR terminals PSVR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift for the mass consumer market. Microsoft also launched Hololens, an AR terminal for vertical industry markets. VR/AR devices are beginning to emerge in large numbers.
At the same time, major VR offline experience stores are also competing to open. In the upstream and downstream of the industry, the B-end and C-end user markets are developed at the same time. 2016 is not only a battle between PC and mobile terminals, but also a year of explosive growth in the first year of VR.
However, at that time, the bottleneck of network, hardware and content had not been broken through, the business model of the industry was not mature, the “bright future” of VR/AR was less than expected, and the popularity of the capital market plummeted. In 2018, the VR/AR industry ebbs and enters a cold winter.
However, there are still many manufacturers who have not given up and continue to explore and release new products. Based on the failure experience and lessons of previous products, VR-related technologies have begun to gradually improve, and the industry chain has gradually matured.
At the same time, with the official deployment of 5G globally, VR/AR has regained attention as a major commercial scenario of 5G network, and the industry has resumed its upward trend.
In 2020, the maturity of each link of the VR/AR industry chain has improved, and the epidemic has pushed up the demand for home use. The demand for consumer-grade VR equipment represented by QculusQuest2 released by Facebook has grown strongly.
In general, the industry generally believes that the VR/AR industry is currently out of the trough of bubble bursting and is in a period of steady climb and recovery. When the performance or effect of the new VR/AR technology can finally meet the needs of consumers, it will enter the stage of substantial popularization and production.
The technology upgrade of the VR industry has become the darling of capital again
With the development of technology, the VR industry has ushered in significant upgrades and iterations on the product side. Previously, VR offline entertainment has gone through the egg chair era (providing exciting content and poor equipment experience), pan-VR experience (arcade VR, multiplayer online FPS, multiplayer theater, etc.) era, and then entered the VR large space era.
At this time, VR products can already be based on large-space laser positioning and motion capture technology to realize free movement and multi-person interaction in a large space combined with head-mounted display, handle, and various props, and increase the sense of motion and immersion of VR in the visual experience. sense. This is unmatched by the previous generation of traditional head-mounted VR products.
Improved hardware performance and lower prices have expanded the market for VR headsets. Among them, according to the investment bank Evercore, Oculus Quest 2 sales are expected to exceed 8 million units in the first year.
VR product supplier Goertek expects its first three quarters performance to increase by 59.38%-71.64% over the same period of the previous year, and the change in performance is mainly due to the increase in sales revenue of its VR virtual reality and other products and the improvement of profitability.
IDC forecasts that VR shipments will grow by 46.2% in 2021 and will grow at a compound growth rate of 48% by 2024.
At the same time, since the beginning of this year, as Facebook, ByteDance, Tencent and other giants at home and abroad compete to deploy the “metaverse”, the VR industry has once again become the darling of the capital market.
From the perspective of investment and financing, the “number one players” in the VR field have successively announced that they have obtained large-scale financing of 100 million yuan. In January 2021, iQIYI Intelligence, which focuses on the VR field, announced the completion of the B round of financing of several hundred million yuan; in March 2021, Pico announced the completion of the B+ round of financing of 242 million yuan; in May 2021, VR technology service provider STEPVR Obtained nearly 100 million yuan in financing.
On August 29, Pico issued a letter to all staff, revealing that it had been acquired by ByteDance. According to data from research firm IDC, Pico’s hardware sales ranked first in China’s VR market last year. Before this acquisition, Goertek Group Co., Ltd. was the majority shareholder of Pico, owning 26% of the shares.
Goertek is also an important foundry of VR products, with major customers including Facebook’s Oculus, Sony, and Pico.
The next day, this investment also triggered a cascading effect in the secondary market. Several VR/AR concept stocks in A shares changed: Baotong Technology and Jinlong Electromechanical had the daily limit; Goertek shares hit the daily limit for a while.
In terms of content, several VR games such as “Beat Saber” and “Half-Life: Alex” were born and became phenomenal games. Among them, “Beat Saber” sold more than 2 million copies and earned more than 60 million US dollars; Valve launched ‘s first VR game “Half-Life: Alex” added millions of users to the Steam VR platform. In China, “Contractors” developed by Nanjing Caveman Studio landed on the Quest platform at the end of the year, and its revenue reached 1 million US dollars within 45 days of its launch.
The success of game content brings a new direction to the creation of VR-related content, and will also stimulate the creation of more new content.
VR is widely used, and projects are implemented in many fields
In addition to game content, domestic enterprises have also carried out various explorations in the implementation of VR projects: such as live broadcasting of events, concerts, etc., shooting events from multiple angles; as well as film and television, e-commerce, education, live broadcasting, mobile terminals, industrial , medical, military and many other aspects.
At present, affected by the epidemic, the world is undergoing a serious health crisis. With the improvement of Internet infrastructure, technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and VR augmented reality are becoming more mature. Technology has become the most powerful for mankind to deal with this round of epidemic. ‘s helper.
Among them, Shell Group’s advance deployment of AR augmented reality technology provides manufacturers with experience that can be used for reference in overcoming the epidemic and maintaining their advantages in the fierce market competition.
For example, in order to ensure that the oil supply will not be interrupted due to failures, Morkel, the terminal manager, chose to install a head-mounted computer on a safety helmet and transmit the scene from the first perspective to an IT expert in Belgium.
Experts conduct remote voice guidance through head-mounted computers, and perform AR annotation on real-time images to help find the crux of the problem, so that the fault can be solved.
Jens Thun, Shell’s head of digitalisation of trade and supply automation, said:”Before Covid-19, there were skeptics that head-mounted computers could help work. Now, this technology will permanently change the way we work.”
In addition, some data centers now use VR glasses technology to visualize data and servers with the help of VR headsets.
Specifically, data centers must be designed in such a way that they can operate efficiently, and these data centers need to be modular in design, with features such as flexibility, energy efficiency, and security.
But creating such a design takes a lot of time. Certain flaws that may exist are difficult to pinpoint before implementing and testing the design.
However, businesses can virtually visualize different designs and test them with the help of VR. So, with VR, businesses can choose the best design for their data center.
With the development of technology, some smart wearables can also be used in industrial use scenarios.
In this year’s 14th Five-Year Plan, the state vigorously advocates the development of 3D/VR and other new technology applications to help the industry upgrade. It is believed that with the maturity of VR/3D technology and the continuous upgrading of hardware equipment configuration, the VR industry will usher in the development of the east wind.
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