The AR / VR industry appears to be based on platforms based on responses to Digi-Capital and AWE's Global AR / VR Industry Survey (complete information in Digi-Capital's Augmented / Virtual Reality Report ). Although there are still opportunities for niche players and startups, clear standouts are now occupied in the XR industry.
At the top level, mobile AR means more to industry than either smartglasses or VR today. And in mobile AR, we really talk to Apple's ARKit and Google's ARCore. For smartglasses, where most of the activity is corporate focused today, Microsoft HoloLens outweighs everyone else. For the budding consumer's smart glass, Magic Leap One is on top, despite not being an actual consumer product yet (it's first and foremost a developer product today). The least surprising result is Facebook and HTC platforms that lead what the VR companies care about, and that's before Oculus Quest launches next year.
All this can change when new platforms are launched, especially if Apple enters the smartphone-tethered smartglasses market (as Digi-Capital has forecast for late 2020 for a while now.]
On Top Platform Level Mobile AR means 76 percent of all respondents, with smartglasses (65 percent) like VR (62 percent). Mobile ARs installed base of over 900 million by the end of 201
Mobile AR companies are focused on ARKit (77 percent) and ARCore (73 percent), which again shows the platform's nature in the market. Vuforia (39 percent) came in front of mobile mobile AR platforms from Facebook Spark AR (26 percent) and Snap Lens Studio (17 percent), as well as Wikitude (21 percent). Of the 16 percent of other platforms (some of which provide specific point solutions), 6D.ai, 8 Wall, Unity and inhouse mobile AR platforms came strong. Such a strong display of Apple and Google makes mobile AR seem to be dominated by these platforms, with clear points for differentiation needed for others to thrive.
Business or pleasure?
Smartglasses have largely been corporate concentrated to date, with 75 percent of companies saying that HoloLens is important for its smartglasses-focused businesses. The Q3 2018 launch of Magic Leap One (57 percent) had a clear impact, even though it is not an end user product yet. Google Glass for Enterprise (35 percent), Vuzix (33 percent), Meta (33 percent) and ODG (32 percent) are similar in scale, followed by Daqri (26 percent), Epson (25 percent) and Kopin percent). Other platforms include RealWear, Mira, Leap Motion North Star and they are hoping for (but still unconfirmed) Apple smartglasses.
Two Horse Racing
The VR Company's main priorities are HTC Vive / Focus / Pro (73 percent) and Oculus Rift (70 percent). It's interesting to see how this distribution changes if and when Apple enters the market. percent). These are followed by Oculus Go (57 percent), Microsoft Windows VR (53 percent), Samsung Gear VR (50 percent). Oculus Quest (formerly Oculus Project Santa Cruz) was not announced until most survey responses were completed. Even with this restriction, 41 percent of respondents were already focused on the platform. Given the industry's response to the launch of Oculus Connect 5, it seems reasonable to assume that Oculus Quest could index significantly higher in subsequent surveys. Google Maps and the more advanced Google Daydream both came in at 39 percent.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the VR sector is that Sony Playstation VR is relatively low (29 percent), despite being the advanced VR headset leader in sales. This result may be due to the fact that the participants in the survey are much broader than game developers, and PSVR is a periphery for the Sony Playstation 4 game console. Other VR platforms include Pico, Web VR, Lenovo Mirage and StarVR.
It's Not Over Before You Win
While the industry seems to have picked its winners (for now), consumers and businesses are not so sure yet. Even with an installed base of 900 million ARKit and ARCore compatible phones by the end of 2018, no AR / VR platform has really been reduced in terms of active users. And that means much more than the industry's mental model.
As in many consumer technology markets, whether Apple enters or not, it is important. In recent years, Digi-Capital has predicted that Apple launched smartphone tape masks by the end of 2020. But as with all things Apple, the only one who really knows Tim Cook and his inner circle is. So do not add your bids yet.
(Full details and more available in Digi-Capitals AR / VR Analytics Platform and Augmented / Virtual Reality Reports)
Isabelle Hierholtz is the User Strategy Director of Silicon Valley based AR / VR Advisor Digi-Capital.