New XRDC Innovation Report reveals Vive is still devs' top target, but AR is rising

Today the UBM Game Network, organizer of the Game Developers Conference and XRDC, is proud to present the third annual XRDC VR/AR Innovation Report!

This year the report is jam-packed with interesting insights gleaned from a survey of over 600 industry professionals involved in the development of virtual/augmented/mixed reality experiences. It's completely free to download and gives you an exclusive look inside the AR/VR/MR industry -- from devs' platform preferences to market challenges, platform availability, funding and much more!

For more information and to download the report, download it for free here!

A lot has happened in the AR/VR/MR market over the past few years, and as these cutting-edge technologies mature and flourish UBM Game Network continues its work of providing industry professionals with opportunities to learn from each other and maintain their place on that cutting edge.

To that end, XRDC 2018 will bring together creators of immersive experiences of all kinds—including games, entertainment, brand experience, healthcare, training, design, and more—October 29th and 30th this year at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

Register for XRDC 2018 early at a discounted rate!

It's an exciting time for many AR/VR/MR professionals, as the VR market matures and both AR and MR seem poised to take off in a big way. With the debut of Magic Leap's long-awaited hardware and the promise of untethered, high-powered VR headsets on the horizon, it's hard not to be bullish about the future of AR/VR/MR innovation.

The results of our survey support that enthusiasm, as it appears that AR/VR/MR professionals are growing more confident about the profitability of the AR/VR/MR market and increasingly self-funding their work, rather than relying on outside investment.

For the second year running the HTC Vive won out as the most common platform targeted by our survey respondents, though there seems to be rising interest in both the Oculus Rift and in mobile AR platforms.

The full report lays out these learnings in much more detail, providing valuable takeaways on current trends critical to the growth of VR/AR/MR development. Here’s a sample of some of the findings:

HTC Vive remains the most popular platform among devs, but interest in VR is dipping

When we asked our survey respondents which AR/VR/MR hardware they’re targeting and why, the HTC Vive headset proved most popular for the third year running, netting the largest share (45 percent) of developer interest.

As in years past, Oculus Rift proved the second most popular platform (41 percent), but this time around Android beat out Samsung’s Gear VR headset to take third place, with 30 percent of devs surveyed saying they’re focusing on making AR experiences for Android phones and tablets using Google’s new ARCore toolset.

This is a notable shift from last year, when VR seemed to dominate devs’ interest: 56 percent of devs surveyed last year said they were targeting the Vive, roughly 49 percent said Oculus Rift, and 33 percent said Gear VR.

Of course, the field of AR experience design has matured significantly since last year’s Innovation Report, so this year we got a bit more granular in asking devs about which AR platforms they’re focusing on. The results are intriguing: In addition to the roughly 30 percent who are focusing on Android, 24 percent of devs surveyed say they’re making AR experiences for iOS devices (using Apple’s new ARKit toolkit), and 17 percent say they’re targeting Windows Mixed Reality AR headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens.

Also, this time around 8 percent of devs surveyed said they’re targeting Magic Leap One, the developer edition of Magic Leap’s vaunted MR headset. It’s a small sliver, but still more than double the 3 percent of devs surveyed last year who said they were making experiences for Magic Leap.

Looking ahead, we also got some surprising data about where devs are planning to release their next project. The Oculus Rift proved most popular here, with 41 percent of devs surveyed saying their next project would be released on the venerable VR platform. 39 percent said HTC Vive, and 24 percent said Android devices (using ARCore).

This is a big change from last year, when the Vive proved the most popular platform among devs for both current and future projects. The fact that the Rift now beats out the Vive among devs in terms of potential sheds some light on where the VR industry is headed in the near future.

Devs are confident AR/VR/MR is a sustainable business, and are growing more bullish about how profitable it can be

So, does this mean AR/VR/MR development is a safe and sustainable industry? The vast majority of the folks we surveyed seem to think so: as in years past, 95 percent of respondents said they believe AR/VR/MR development is a long-term sustainable business.

But when we asked them when they thought AR, VR, or MR would turn a profit for themselves and/or their client(s), just 15 percent said it was already doing so. 12 percent said they thought it would be profitable in the short-term, 38 percent said medium-term, and 23 percent said long-term.

That’s a more promising outlook than what we saw last year, when 16 percent said AR/VR/MR would be profitable in the short-term, 39 percent in the medium-term, and 38 percent said long-term.

Admittedly, this was the first year we specifically asked whether respondents were already turning a profit, but the shift away from a focus on long-term and towards short- or medium-term profitability suggests that devs are more confident in the health and viability of the AR/VR/MR markets.

“We are making $4,000 currently and need to hit $12,000 a month to be profitable and pay all expenses,” wrote another respondent who believed AR/VR/MR would be profitable in the short term. “We have a consistent 10-25 percent growth every month.”

Self-funding remains the most common path for AR/VR/MR devs, but more now comes from company coffers -- and less is coming out of devs' pockets

If you follow the money in AR/VR/MR experience development, our survey results suggest you’ll most often end up at the doors of the companies that are doing the work themselves. As in years past, the most popular answer for where devs’ funding comes from is the company’s existing funds (45 percent), followed by a dev’s personal funds (27 percent) and funding from a client (21 percent).

That roughly matches up with the results of last year’s survey, but this year we saw a notable jump in the percentage of devs who say they’re being funded by their company’s coffers. Last year, 39 percent said company’s existing funds, 31 percent said personal funds, and 21 percent said their client(s) picked up the tab.

This may suggest that more companies are finding AR/VR/MR development to be a sustainable business and are able to justify spending company funds on developing for AR/VR/MR headsets.

Intriguingly, our results also indicate venture capital and angel investment in AR/VR/MR development is at an all-time low -- at least, among our survey respondents. Just 9 percent of those surveyed said their funding came from angel investors, and roughly the same amount said their funding came from VC.

When we look at this data alongside survey results from prior years, we see a slow trend away from external investment and towards self-funding as the AR/VR/MR industries mature.

Of course, you can also look at the data for yourself in much more detail within the full report!

Media can obtain a copy of the report by contacting the XRDC PR team at XRDCPR@ubm.com.

XRDC takes place this October 29th and 30th in San Francisco at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. Now that registration is open, you'll want to look over XRDC passes and prices and register early to get the best deal!

For more information about XRDC, which is produced by organizers of the Game Developers Conference, check out the official XRDC website. You can also subscribe to regular XRDC updates via emailTwitter and Facebook.

 

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