Discover the Virtual Reality Ecosystem in Canada

Co-authored by CFC Media Lab and OmersVentures, in collaboration with Nordicity.

The Pulse on VR

Co-authored by CFC Media Lab and OMERS Ventures, in collaboration with Nordicity, Pulse on VR: A Living Ecosystem represents an ongoing snapshot of the Canadian Virtual Reality (VR) ecosystem as it evolves. The study – a living and ongoing research project – examines the workflows, tools, challenges and opportunities that VR creators and technologists face. Our goal is to present this data on a quarterly basis here and track how it takes shape over time. To continue reading our analysis of the situation this quarter, download the PDF.

2017 Q1 Key Insights

Tell me about

Who's working in VR?

We surveyed more than 1,400 people working on VR projects across more than 200 Canadian companies. Some companies, especially those founded in the last few years, are wholly dedicated to VR - others have VR departments innovating within a larger workforce.

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What kinds of companies are VR employees working for?

4 in 10 (58) companies surveyed focus exclusively on virtual reality products.

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2014 - the year VR took off

Since 2014 there has been a 22% increase in the number of companies working in the VR landscape.

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Content is (VR) King

17 out of every 20 VR companies in our survey are working on developing content for commercial use - in today's VR market, content really is king.

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DIY Content Tools

Internally, companies are making a much wider range of products in order to create the tools needed to support innovative VR content.

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What're they building in there?

Our survey captured more than 300 projects currently under development across the Canadian VR ecosystem. Around a quarter of these projects are already generating revenue for their creators.

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Diversity in Innovation

Just under half of VR companies are focusing on developing a single product. One in five surveyed companies are at work on three or more products.

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And where are they building them?

Nearly half of the total VR products under development are being produced in Ontario, though other parts of Canada have a higher rate of products already in market. VR innovation is happening at a fever pitch in Ontario.

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(How) are you experienced?

Content creators are making VR products that cater to a wide variety of content experiences. Around half are creating gorgeous landscapes, museum exhibits and other passive expereinces, but almost all of them are engaged in creating some kind of active content.

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What tools do content creators use?

Though 3rd party software development kits and application programming interfaces are the most commonly employed tools, more than half of content creators are making use of open source developer tools.

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Finding an audience

Distribution of VR products occurs primarily through proprietary apps, websites, and through online distribution portals and partnered app stores.

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Building tools to support content

Creation platforms and 3d engines are the tools most commonly created by VR companies to support innovation in VR content.

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Building tools to support content creation

The creation of software development kits and application programming interfaces is the most important application development software for surveyed Canadian VR companies. All other tools are created by less than a third of companies in our survey

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Supporting the security and data needs of VR companies

VR companies involved in provision of backend solutions are primarily involved in providing cloud services and data storage solutions. A minority are also involved in providing data security services.

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Lights, camera, haptics!

VR companies in our survey are more likely to be creating cameras than any other single type of VR hardware. Position and room trackers, motion sensors, controllers and haptic feedback devices are all produced by between a third and half of companies.

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Who are VR companies working with?

More than 8 in 10 surveyed VR companies work with partner organizations. Of those who do, more than half work with other VR start-ups or film and TV production companies.

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How long till we hit the Big Time?

VR companies are excited about the prospects for the industry's future. More than 85% of them anticipate VR will be a mainstream medium in less than five years, and nearly half think this will come to pass in less than three.

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Who buys our stuff?

While the general public remains the highest priority target for clientele, nearly half of surveyed companies are producing VR aimed at the core of VR enthusiasts, and more than a third are creating VR products for business clients and marketing agencies.

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Where is the market now, and where is it going?

The vast majority of VR companies are concentrated on the entertainment sector for the present. Looking to the future, surveyed VR companies anticipate significant diversification of market segments, spanning education, live events, job training, tourism/hospitality and real estate.

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Where are the roadblocks?

The largest obstacles to success in VR today are financing, both private and public, the rate of consumer adoption, and the overall maturity of the VR market. In a young, rapidly growing industry, these are understandable concerns.

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