Virtual reality - additional information
A 2015 Statista survey conducted in the United States has asked the question “Have you ever heard of the term 'virtual reality'?” A total of 92 percent of respondents have answered positively, awareness being strongest among 30 to 39 year-olds. “Virtual reality (VR),” also called “virtual environment (VE),”“computer-simulated life” or “immersive multimedia,” is a phenomenon straight out of SF books and films of the last century that is on its way to attaining market maturity. VR can help replicate an environment, whether real or completely imaginary by stimulating all senses: sight and hearing, as well as sometimes touch, smell, or even taste.
In order to experience virtual reality, the user needs a number of specific hardware, such as, most importantly, a head-mounted display (HMD) - a wraparound headset which does not allow light or images from the real world to interfere with the virtual one. As of 2015, a number of companies are announcing commercially available HMDs specifically created for VR. These include the Oculus Rift (produced by a Facebook-acquired company – Oculus VR), the HTC Vive (HTC in partnership with Valve Corporation) or Project Morpheus (Sony’s VR headset for the Playstation 4). According to recent forecasts, revenue from virtual reality Head-mounted displays is expected to grow from 685 million U.S. dollars in 2015 to 3.89 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. Other hardware includes data gloves - gloves with attached sensors detecting hand movements, which allow the user to interact with the virtual world and to “touch” objects inside it, as well as wands or even treadmills. It is estimated that, by 2018, over 100 million units of various such input systems will be sold, producing revenues of over 760 million U.S. dollars.
The VR industry is growing at a fast pace, with revenues from virtual reality products (both hardware and software) projected to increase from 90 million U.S. dollars in 2014 to 5.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. The number of active VR users is forecast to reach 171 million by 2018.