The advent of consumer virtual reality seems to have reignited the fire in independent developers. But, although many are rushing headlong into VR content creation, just how sustainable is the ecosystem they’re about to enter? In a preview of a full industry report due to be published next month, Greenlight VR take a closer look.

Recently, much of the conversation among thought-leaders has been on how the future of content can kick-start industry growth. Questions such as what will be the killer app for VR, what experiences will resonate and drive adoption among mainstream consumers, and how can developers monetize their creations are both important and timely, but their answers will take years to present themselves.

Greenlight VR 2016 Industry Report

Nevertheless, the need is now to understand these and other topics pertinent to the evolving ecosystem. Thus, Greenlight VR, the San Francisco-based think tank devoted to researching the industry, went directly to independent developers and small studios to understand their outlook for the industry as they prepare their next major report.


Not surprisingly, the industry analysts found that the developer community currently poised to embrace VR is large and energetic. However, Greenlight VR believes the ecosystem is still fragile. A majority of respondents to their recent Virtual Reality Industry Monitor survey report being less than two years old, have few full-time employees, and exist on infrequent project-based work. Yet, as a sign of the current exuberance among this community, 60% of respondents anticipate seeking external funding despite there not being a clear vision of the business and monetization models that will be dominant in the space.

Greenlight VR VRIM Result_Revenue Model Emerging StillDespite the uncertainty in business models evident in Greenlight VR’s research, respondents indicate early bets are being made. Moreover, a massive shift underway in terms of platforms for which the developer community seem to be focusing their attention.

Greenlight VR VRIM Result_Developer Focus ShiftWhile winners in terms of platforms are far from clear, the developer community is betting big, appear to be highly motivated, and have expectations of near-term success.

To learn more about the VR industry, pre-order the 2016 VIRTUAL REALITY INDUSTRY REPORT, the 2nd edition of Greenlight VR’s annual report providing a comprehensive perspective on the virtual reality industry.

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  • Pistol Pete

    While I don’t care about the headset size I believe VR won’t go full mainstream until we can get the headsets near sunglasses size, hopefully 5 yrs. Remote VR contacts lens in 10-15, :D

    • Sam Kennedy

      I think wireless HMD’s will be here within 5 years ,the chances of them being the size of sunglasses at better resolutions and higher quality then the current generation is slim to none

      The battery problem has to be solved before sunglasses will ever be considered for real vr. Something the size of a smartphone is far more likely and even then go play a high end game and see how fast your smartphone dies and thats not pushing it nearly as hard as vr games running at a minimum of 90 fps at 4k will be in 5 years. I think wireless HMD’s are a possiblity but there is a lot that needs to happen, Cell phone graphics and processors have some catching up to do. Its going to be 2-3 years alone before mid range graphics cards can push 4k on 2 screens at 90 fps, so i would imagine its going to be many more years before that becomes viable on smartphones.

      If you mean that its just wirelessly connecting to a computer and a powerful computer is doing all the processing but the HMD is the size of sunglasses that may be possible, but the barrier is still going to be the powerful computer doing all the processing.

  • Mateusz

    Interesting to see massive shift towards Playstation VR in terms of future developments.

    • VR Geek

      Shift to PSVR and ViVe it looks like from Oculus and Google actually. I am not surprised as PSVR makes financial sense for consumers and offers a similar seated experience as Oculus and the ViVe is where the more immersive applications will live including world creation tools like Unreal, Unity and I am sure many others as the competitive advantage in some industries is so big that not having a ViVe will be a big disadvantage. Think engineering or architecture. Mouse and keyboard will seem like MSDOS pretty quickly.

      • Mateusz

        Vive going from 35% to 39% is not a “shift” imo just a 10% increase. By comparison PSVR development is due to rise by 300%.

        Oculus saw drop by almost 60%. Suprised to see Google Cardboard development drop by “only” 50% – I would have thought Cardboard will soon be obsolete.

        • Folks replace their phones every year or two — compared to 5 or 6 year lifespans of consoles and desktops. As a result, expect to get the mobile-based devices like the Cardboard-compatible sets and the Gear VR to improve rapidly.

          In fact, with the 100-plus manufacturers competing in the Cardboard space, we’re already seeing a great deal of innovation. The latest mid-priced headset, BoboVR Z4, comes with 120-degree field of view and integrated headphones. My current favorite headset, the LeNest/FiiT, starts at just $25 and has a wider field of view, lower weight, and better usability than the Gear VR (though without the extra sensors). Meanwhile, many phone manufacturers are starting to bundle Cardboard-compatible viewers in with their phones, which is another good indication that future phones will have even better VR support — better sensors, faster processors, and better graphics.

  • Sam Kennedy

    Interesting how current development focus is skewed towards the vive. Im happy i picked one up. Late april cant come soon enough!!

    • Mateusz

      60% Rift vs 35% Vive and you’re saying development is skewed towards the vive? I’m not sure we’re seeing same numbers. Unless you’re talking about future developments, but in this case the true winner is PSVR.

      • moodybyname

        I think Same meant “planned” development not “current” development – the 2 very similar greens were not the best choice for the graph’s current and planned data…

    • DiGiCT Ltd

      We are also focus on Vive development, as we like the room scale concept applied in our games.
      Can’t say to much about it yet but it might be in Steam for greenlit in april as we are still preparing and testing the game to prevent any issues and sickness.
      Also as room scale is a new area, the game needs to be fitted to that, it cant be just a port or concept from an existing game.