Ready Player One: Is Your Startup Prepared for the VR Future?

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Have you already seen people wearing Apple Vision Pro on the streets? Apple knows how to create hype better than everyone else, and in 2024, their focus landed on the topic of virtual reality. Although VR is not a new concept at all, Apple Vision Pro seems to introduce us to the next stage of VR infiltration in our everyday lives.

The release of Apple Vision Pro highlighted a significant challenge for tech companies and startups – are they ready to compete for users in VR? While buyers of the Apple headset can enjoy 600 apps built specifically for the device, notable market players like YouTube or Netflix haven’t released applications for visionOS. It is hard to say whether it is a deliberate choice or an unfortunate miscalculation, but it’s definitely a missed opportunity. 

Looking at the current cultural momentum around VR and spatial computing, I would say that VR is steadily becoming a new dimension for all tech entrepreneurs to consider. So what should you know about VR to succeed? Read this article – here we gathered the main insights you need!

Table of Content

How VR is Taking Over the World

So, let’s talk about facts: is the virtual reality industry really gaining momentum? The numbers speak volumes: in 2023, the virtual reality market has swelled to a robust $15.8 billion, with the hardware sector alone accounting for $9.4 billion of this total. But this is just the beginning. Looking ahead, forecasts predict an astronomical rise to $435.36 billion by 2030, propelled by an impressive CAGR of 27.5% from 2023 to 2030. In 2022, the AR and VR headset market witnessed shipments of 8.83 million units, a testament to the growing interest and adoption of these technologies. The forecast for 2023 looks even more promising, with expected shipments reaching 10.06 million units, of which VR devices will constitute 9.59 million. So what does this mean for us, and how is VR carving out a new world right before our eyes?

The concept of virtual entertainment is not just emerging; it’s exponentially growing across the globe. Entertainment is the biggest niche of the VR industry, as people are increasingly gravitating towards at-home entertainment

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This isn’t just about watching movies or playing video games in the traditional sense. It’s about leveraging technology to transform living rooms into concert halls, sports arenas, and travel destinations, all without stepping outside. This is a paradigm shift in how we consume content, and it propels the market forward.

But why is this growth happening now? It’s a confluence of technological advancements, shifting consumer behaviors, and a newfound appreciation for immersive experiences. As VR technology becomes more accessible and affordable and Apple enters the market with its long-awaited Vision Pro headset, its adoption is skyrocketing. We’re seeing VR headsets and accessories evolve, becoming more user-friendly and offering higher fidelity experiences. This, in turn, is making VR more appealing to a broader audience, beyond the early adopters and tech enthusiasts.

The future is indeed VR, and we are just beginning to scratch the surface of its potential. As the industry continues to expand, innovate, and redefine what’s possible, one thing is clear: VR is not just taking over the world; it’s reshaping it in ways we are only beginning to understand.

The Most Popular VR Headsets

To fully comprehend the current VR capacities, you need to understand the hardware behind it. The mass adoption began a decade ago, and a lot of companies tried to conquer the niche. Some headsets are already discontinued, while other lines successfully grow and receive new updates. So, here are the most popular VR headsets for now.

Meta Quest 3 & Meta Quest 2

Leading the pack are the Meta Quest 3 and its predecessor, the Meta Quest 2. These headsets have revolutionized the VR market with their standalone design, eliminating the need for a PC or console. They offer an extensive library of games and applications, making VR more accessible to a broader audience. The Quest series’ success is attributed to its ease of use, affordability, and the immersive experience it provides, making it a favorite among VR enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

Sony PlayStation VR2

For gamers, the Sony PlayStation VR2 has been a game-changer. Designed to work seamlessly with the PlayStation console, it offers a rich, immersive gaming experience with stunning visuals and precise tracking. Its integration with PlayStation’s gaming ecosystem has made it a must-have for console gamers looking to dive into virtual worlds.

Valve Index VR Kit

The Valve Index VR Kit is renowned for its high fidelity and precision, catering to a more premium segment of the VR market. With superior build quality, room-scale tracking, and finger-tracking controllers, the Valve Index offers one of the most immersive and detailed virtual reality experiences. It’s particularly favored by VR enthusiasts and PC gamers who demand the highest quality and performance.

HTC Vive Pro 2

The HTC Vive Pro 2 stands out for its professional-grade visual fidelity and comfort. Aimed at both gamers and professionals, it offers stunning 5K resolution visuals, high refresh rates, and comprehensive room-scale tracking. The Vive Pro 2 is designed for users seeking the ultimate VR experience, whether for gaming, design, or simulation.

Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro The Apple Vision Pro is a breakthrough product that introduces a new dimension of computing. It’s a head-mounted device that combines VR and AR, allowing you to use your apps, enjoy entertainment, and spatially connect with others. The Apple Vision Pro is designed for users who want to experience the future of computing, whether for productivity, creativity, or fun.

HeadsetTarget AudienceMarket PositionKey Revenue Streams
Meta Quest 3 & 2Casual and serious gamersAccessible VR entryHardware, software sales, ecosystem engagement
Sony PlayStation VR2Console gamersGaming communityHardware sales, exclusive VR games
Valve Index VR KitEnthusiasts and hardcore gamersPremium VR experienceHardware, software sales on Steam
HTC Vive Pro 2Gamers, developers, enterpriseHigh-resolution, professional-grade VRHardware, software, enterprise solutions
Apple Vision ProConsumers and professionalsPremium mixed reality experiencesHardware, ecosystem integration

How Startups Can Seize VR-Related Opportunities

For tech entrepreneurs, the rapid growth of VR means a huge thing: it is a market worth exploring. More and more users acquire VR headsets and explore this new form of content consumption. Who knows, maybe in a few years virtual reality hardware will become another omnipotent device, like smartphones? But even if we are still far away from this point, virtual reality might open a new market for you, revealing new audiences and profit streams. 

So what exactly are these opportunities? 

First, you can use virtual reality to enhance your current tech products.

  • VR can transform educational software by making learning experiences more interactive and immersive. Startups can retrofit existing educational platforms with VR capabilities, enabling users to explore historical sites, dissect complex molecules, or solve math puzzles in a virtual 3D space, thereby deepening engagement and understanding.

  • By integrating VR into health and fitness apps, startups can offer more engaging workout sessions, simulate outdoor environments for indoor exercises, or provide guided meditation in serene landscapes, making wellness routines more enjoyable and effective.

  • Within remote work solutions, VR can upgrade collaboration tools by creating virtual workspaces where teams can interact in a shared, three-dimensional environment, enhancing communication and teamwork beyond traditional video calls.

  • Startups can incorporate VR into design and engineering tools to allow architects, engineers, and designers to walk through their creations at full scale before they are built, facilitating a more intuitive and detailed design process.

At the same time, VR creates a new dimension for us to create, communicate and interact. You can leverage these new experiences to release new products. Here are some virtual reality business ideas.

  • There’s a growing demand for virtual travel and experiences, allowing users to explore distant lands, historical events, or even fictional worlds from the comfort of their homes. Startups can develop VR platforms that offer these experiences, tapping into the tourism, education, and entertainment markets.

  • As people seek more immersive ways to connect online, startups have the opportunity to create VR-based social platforms where users can meet, interact, and share experiences in a virtual space, offering a new dimension to social networking.

  • VR can revolutionize the way we shop by allowing customers to try on clothes virtually, explore digital showrooms, or visualize furniture in their homes before making a purchase. Startups can develop VR shopping platforms that offer a more interactive and personalized shopping experience.

  • There’s significant potential for VR in professional training and simulations, especially in fields like healthcare, aviation, and the military. Startups can create realistic training environments that allow professionals to practice procedures or scenarios in a risk-free, virtual setting, enhancing skills and preparedness.

Whatever option you choose, you need to take your time to create a fine VR app. Prioritize user-centric design and accessibility, collaborate with experts in your target industries, and follow the constantly evolving tech industry to stay relevant.

Is the metaverse dead?

Speaking about VR-related opportunities, we need to address the elephant in the room: the metaverse. If you’ve been keeping an ear to the ground, you might have heard whispers questioning, “Is the metaverse dead?” 

First off, it’s essential to understand that what we currently refer to as the “metaverse” isn’t quite the sprawling, interconnected digital universe that was initially envisioned. Instead, what we’ve seen to emerge are numerous standalone VR platforms. These platforms offer deep immersion into virtual worlds, yes, but they exist in isolation from one another rather than being interlinked parts of a larger, unified metaverse.

Now, regarding the hype — there’s no denying that the buzz around the metaverse has seen its ups and downs over the past few years. Initially, the concept was met with a wave of enthusiasm, capturing the imaginations of tech enthusiasts and investors alike. However, as the grand vision of a unified digital universe has proven slow to materialize, some of that initial excitement has undoubtedly simmered down.

But here’s the thing: to say the metaverse is “dead” would be a gross misinterpretation of where we stand today. What we’re witnessing is not the demise of an idea but rather its evolution. The metaverse, as it was originally conceived, is a monumental ambition. It’s a work in progress, a concept still in its infancy, growing and morphing as it begins to find its footing in the real world.

Moreover, the impact of these VR platforms — and the metaverse concept at large — is starting to ripple across various industries, far beyond just entertainment. Healthcare and manufacturing, in particular, are two sectors where the potential of virtual reality and the principles of the metaverse are beginning to shine. In healthcare, VR technologies are being explored for surgical training, patient rehabilitation, and therapeutic applications, offering immersive experiences that can lead to better outcomes and more personalized care. Meanwhile, in manufacturing, virtual simulations and digital twins are revolutionizing product design, prototyping, and training processes, allowing for more efficient and flexible production lines.

So, is the metaverse dead? Far from it. We’re merely witnessing the early stages of what promises to be a long, complex, and undoubtedly fascinating journey toward realizing a fully interconnected digital universe. The current state of standalone VR platforms represents the stepping stones toward a more integrated metaverse. It’s a strong concept, still very much alive and kicking, gradually expanding its influence and proving its worth across an increasingly broad spectrum of applications.

In essence, the journey towards the metaverse is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a complex, multifaceted endeavor that will require time, innovation, and collaboration to fully realize. But as we continue to explore the chances and push the boundaries of what’s possible with virtual reality technology, the vision of a unified, immersive digital universe becomes ever more attainable.

Finding VR Developers

If you decide to tap into the VR world, you encounter a huge challenge: actually developing a solution for VR hardware, and it is no small feat. You need a team of skilled developers who are not just proficient in traditional software development, but also deeply knowledgeable about the unique demands of virtual reality. These developers are the architects of the immersive experiences that VR promises, crafting digital worlds that are both engaging and lifelike. But what exactly should these developers know, and more importantly, how do you find them?

What Are the Competencies of VR Developers?

A strong VR developer should have a well-rounded skill set that covers a range of technologies and principles:

Proficiency in VR Development Platforms. Knowledge of Unity or Unreal Engine is crucial. These platforms are the foundation of most VR development projects, and expertise in one (or both) is necessary for building sophisticated VR applications.

Tech Stack

Programming Languages. A firm grasp of C# is essential for developers working with Unity, while C++ is key for those using Unreal Engine. These languages allow developers to script the behavior and interactions within VR environments.

3D Graphics and Animation. Understanding 3D modeling and animation is important, even if the developer is not directly creating these assets. This knowledge enables developers to work effectively with 3D modelers and animators and to integrate and optimize these elements within the VR application.

VR Hardware. Familiarity with the tech stack of various VR headsets (such as Meta Quest or Apple Vision Pro) is vital. Developers need to know how to leverage specific hardware features and ensure compatibility across different devices.

User Experience Design for VR. Unlike traditional UX design, VR requires designing for a three-dimensional space and considering user interaction with a completely immersive environment. Developers should understand VR ergonomics and how to create intuitive and comfortable experiences.

Performance Optimization. Given the processing constraints of VR devices, developers must be adept at optimizing applications to run smoothly, which includes managing memory usage, minimizing latency, and ensuring high frame rates.

How to Find Top Virtual Reality Developers?

Given the scarcity of VR development talent in many regions, turning to staffing agencies emerges as the best solution for many companies. TurnKey, a renowned offshore tech staffing company, can help you find and employ strong VR developers rapidly.

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With TurnKey, you can expect to encounter the best talent on the market, as well as benefit from other services we provide when you consider offshore developers. So what makes us stand out on the market?

  • We do not keep a bench but hire specialists specifically for the requests of our clients. This way, you get the best match for your opening instead of getting what is available at the moment.

  • We have helped you retain offshore developers for years. We have a special retention program that allows us to measure the churn risk and implement actions that will make developers happy and reduce the chance of them quitting.

  • Unlike many other agencies, we ensure transparent pricing. We invented a “cost plus” model: we tell you exactly what your developers are paid and then have capped fees on top that don’t rise with salary. This way you always control how much your developers get paid, and dictate all promotions, raises, and equity grants.

  • We also provide flexible EOR services that shield you from legal risks and are free from administrative hassles like payroll, taxes, benefits administration, and compliance. 

With TurnKey, you get access to the top 3% of talent in Eastern Europe and Latin America while delegating administrative and cumbersome tasks of developers’ hiring and employment to true specialists.

Hire top VR developers with TurnKey Staffing

Summing Up

As you can see, VR will be growing and might become a crucial part of our digital lives in a matter of few years. I believe that now is the best moment to start your exploration of virtual reality if you haven’t done it yet. Adapt your products to VR devices, release solutions relevant to VR users, and look for additional opportunities that arise in virtual dimensions.

FAQ

Why should startups consider integrating VR into their business model?

Startups should consider integrating VR into their business model for several compelling reasons. Firstly, VR offers a unique opportunity to create immersive and engaging experiences for customers, setting the startup apart from competitors. It allows for the simulation of real-world scenarios, enabling customers to try products or services in a virtual environment, which can significantly enhance customer engagement and satisfaction. Moreover, VR technology can open new markets and revenue streams, whether through virtual reality products, services, or enhancements to existing offerings. For industries like real estate, education, healthcare, and retail, VR can revolutionize how services are delivered, making them more interactive and accessible. Additionally, embracing VR technology signals to investors and customers alike that the startup is forward-thinking and adaptable to emerging trends, an important attribute in the fast-paced technology landscape. However, successful integration requires a clear strategy that aligns with the startup's goals, target market, and the specific value VR adds to the user experience.

What are the common challenges startups face when adopting VR, and how can they overcome them?

Adopting VR technology presents several challenges for startups, including high development costs, technological complexities, and the need for specialized talent. High costs are often associated with acquiring the necessary hardware, software, and expertise to create and maintain high-quality VR experiences. Startups can mitigate these financial challenges by seeking partnerships with established VR companies, applying for grants, or participating in incubator programs that provide resources and support for emerging technologies. The technological complexity of VR also demands a team with specialized skills in 3D modeling, user interface design, and software development. To overcome this, startups can focus on training existing staff, hiring skilled professionals, or outsourcing specific tasks to experts in the field. Additionally, user adoption can be hindered by the lack of widespread VR headset ownership and potential resistance to new technology. Startups can address this by creating cross-platform experiences that are accessible on various devices, including smartphones and computers, and by educating their target audience on the benefits and usability of VR technology.

What are the first steps a startup should take to incorporate VR into its operations?

The first steps a startup should take to incorporate VR into its operations begin with thorough market research to understand the VR landscape, target audience needs, and competitive offerings. Identifying a clear use case for VR that aligns with the startup's business objectives is crucial. This involves determining how VR can enhance the customer experience, improve product or service offerings, or streamline operations. Following this, developing a feasible project plan that outlines the scope, budget, timeline, and necessary resources is essential. Startups should also explore different VR platforms and technologies to find the ones that best fit their project's requirements. Building a skilled team or partnering with VR development agencies can provide the expertise needed to bring the vision to life. Lastly, engaging with the VR community through events, forums, and social media can offer valuable insights, feedback, and networking opportunities to support the project's development and success.

What funding options are available for startups looking to invest in VR?

Startups looking to invest in VR have several funding options available to support their initiatives. Venture capital (VC) firms interested in cutting-edge technology can provide significant financial backing, particularly for startups with innovative VR projects that demonstrate high market potential. Angel investors, often individuals with an interest in technology advancements, can also offer capital in exchange for equity. Crowdfunding platforms present another avenue, allowing startups to raise funds directly from consumers who are interested in the product or service, providing the added benefit of market validation. Government grants and subsidies for technology innovation can be a valuable resource, especially for projects that contribute to educational, medical, or scientific advancements. Additionally, incubator and accelerator programs specifically designed for tech startups often provide seed funding, mentorship, and resources to help develop and launch VR projects. Exploring these options requires a solid business plan and a clear demonstration of how VR technology will drive growth and innovation within the startup.

What future trends in VR should startups be aware of to stay competitive?

Startups should stay informed about several key trends in VR to remain competitive. One significant trend is the advancement in VR hardware, including lighter, wireless headsets and controllers with haptic feedback, which will make VR experiences more accessible and immersive. The integration of VR with other technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) is creating mixed-reality experiences that offer richer interactions and new possibilities for user engagement. Another trend is the increased focus on social VR, where users can interact with each other in virtual spaces, opening up opportunities for virtual events, meetings, and social platforms. There's also a growing emphasis on VR for training and education, offering realistic simulations for medical, technical, and safety training at a lower cost and risk than traditional methods. Finally, the expansion of VR content beyond gaming into areas like mental health, physical fitness, and remote work solutions indicates a broadening market for VR applications. Keeping abreast of these trends and incorporating them into strategic planning can help startups leverage VR technology effectively and sustainably.

How hard is it to produce virtual reality content?

Producing virtual reality (VR) content ranges in difficulty based on the project's complexity, desired quality, and creators' technical skills. Simple VR projects, like 360-degree videos, require basic video production knowledge and accessible equipment, making them relatively easy for those with a background in multimedia. However, creating advanced interactive VR experiences demands a deeper understanding of software development, 3D modeling, and animation, necessitating proficiency in platforms such as Unity or Unreal Engine. The equipment and software costs can vary, with high-quality content requiring powerful computing resources, specialized cameras, and professional-grade software. The intricacy of adding interactive elements and achieving high levels of realism also significantly impacts the production process, increasing the need for skilled professionals and extending development timelines. Consequently, while entry-level VR content creation is approachable, developing sophisticated, immersive experiences can be challenging and resource-intensive, highlighting the importance of technical skills, budget, and time considerations in the production journey.

February 12, 2024

TurnKey Staffing provides information for general guidance only and does not offer legal, tax, or accounting advice. We encourage you to consult with professional advisors before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business or legal rights.

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