Key Insight Sources
VR Companies and Employment
More than 4 in 10 VR employees work at companies focused solely on virtual reality products. Our survey reached more than 200 companies across Canada, employing almost 1400 people working on VR projects. Some companies, especially those founded in the last few years, are wholly dedicated to VR - others have VR departments innovating within a larger workforce. The last few years have seen an explosion in companies engaging with VR, and especially in the number who have hitched their star fully to the VR wagon.
Products for Internal and Commercial Use
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. Internally, companies are making a much wider range of products in order to create the tools needed to support innovative VR content.
Content Creation activity
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 experiences, but almost all of them are engaged in creating some kind of interactive content. 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. Distribution of VR products occurs primarily through proprietary apps, websites, and through online distribution portals and partnered app stores.
Creation platforms and 3d engines are the tools most commonly created by VR companies to support innovation in VR content. 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. 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. 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.
VR Clients and Use Case
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. 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.
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.
Product Development Stage
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. 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. 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.
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.