What’s on the Horizon for VR? Reel FX, 900lbs of Creative Leaders Give Their Thoughts

Market experts say virtual reality could become a $38 billion industry by 2026.

VR

Virtual reality is still in its infancy, but market experts say the technology could become a $38 billion industry by 2026.

That’s according to a recent Greenlight Insights study as reported by MediaPost. That doesn’t mean VR headsets will be in every home by Christmas 2017 or 2018.  

The study predicts moderate revenue growth for VR in the short term, before reaching $38 billion in 10 years.

As part of the study, Greenlight Insights surveyed 500 VR professionals. About 45 percent of survey respondents expect VR and augmented reality to turn a profit for their companies, 44 percent didn’t foresee any profits or were unsure, and the remaining 11 percent preferred not to answer the revenue question.

Dallas Innovates reached out to two Dallas leaders in VR: Taylor Williams, executive producer for Reel FX, and Steve Deitz, CEO of 900lbs of Creative, to see where they think the industry is going.

Taylor Williams

What are your thoughts on this $38 billion projection? Is that too high? Too low?

As someone on the content side of the equation, I don’t have as much insight into the overall hardware picture where the initial growth is likely to happen. All I can say is that right now we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg, and we’re excited to be along for the ride.   

How has your perception of VR’s potential changed in the last two to three years? 

The potential for VR was evident to us ever since we received the first Oculus Rift Developers Kit from Kickstarter. In the past two to three years, that potential has been reaffirmed several times over, and then grown with the addition of augmented reality and mixed reality to the horizon.  

“I think we’re several years off, but when it arrives, I expect VR/AR/MR devices to achieve the same level of ubiquity that mobile phones enjoy in today’s world.”

Taylor Williams

If we are approaching a tipping point for VR, what is it and when will it happen?

The major tipping point for VR will come when devices reach a glasses-style form factor, providing always-on information and content. I think we’re several years off, but when it arrives, I expect VR/AR/MR devices to achieve the same level of ubiquity that mobile phones enjoy in today’s world.   

Where do you see your company in 10 years? 

Reel FX will continue to create high-end content for our partners and will increasingly add our own independent properties to the mix. I’m very excited to see where the near future takes us!

What needs to happen before VR gets mass adoption (costs coming down while also having content or games people can’t live without?) 

Barriers to entry need to be reduced in order for mass adoption to take hold, that includes form factor, cost, and lack of content/utility. I don’t think any one pillar will lead to mass adoption with the other two, it takes the complete package.  

What innovations do you see coming in the next two to three years that you’re excited about in VR technology? 

In the near future, the most important innovations will come through increasing power and ability for untethered mobile devices and the proliferation AR/MR technologies. Together, they are going to change the way we interact with technology in every aspect of our lives.


Steve Deitz  

What are your thoughts on this $38 billion projection? Is that too high? Too low?

At first glance, some people may think that they need to adjust their glasses (or their mounted “headset”), but I believe that $38 billion is on the low side. The companies that emerge from the business landscape of virtual reality will become some of the largest companies in the world. Imagine how quickly we are going to be able to select our own point of view from a variety of vantage points while watching sports. Being immersed in an environment or augmenting layers of content and information on the real-world environment will spawn an endless array of business opportunities and revenue streams. This is just the beginning.

How has your perception of VR’s potential changed in the last two to three years? 

The virtual reality industry started with obvious avenues in gaming, movies, and then gimmicky marketing campaigns. However, we are now starting to see virtual reality being integrated into more practical applications across all industries. We are starting to see the vast potential of data collection and real-time analytics with the integration of infrared sensors. 

If we are approaching a tipping point for VR, what is it and when will it happen?

Virtual reality movies will become more widely accepted in the next few years. Why watch a movie when you can be in the movie? The viewer will be able to choose their own adventure. Eventually, the headsets will transition (mixed-reality) glasses that will be normal size. Those glasses will be powered by your cellphone. That will be a major tipping point. 

“The companies that emerge from the business landscape of virtual reality will become some of the largest companies in the world.” 

Steve Deitz

Where do you see your company in 10 years? 

As organizations transition further into the “Experience Age,” there will be more pressure to keep up with the shifts in consumer behavior and expectations. 900lbs of Creative will be the innovation lab and science-driven creative studio on the tip of the spear. We will continue to evolve as we utilize emerging technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality to create wow experiences. 

What needs to happen before VR gets mass adoption (costs coming down while also having content or games people can’t live without?) 

For mass adoption, the barrier to entry needs to be lowered first and foremost. This mostly pertains to the costs of getting a VR capable machine and the headset itself. With the release of Playstation VR we are seeing a headset that is affordable (around $400 for the headset, $300 for the console to run it) and works with existing hardware that already has a high install base. As more people invest in the technology, development companies will be willing to add full VR experiences to budget, leading to more development in the space. This, in turn, will lead to wider adoption of virtual reality.

What innovations do you see coming in the next two to three years that you’re excited about in VR technology? 

Haptic controllers that allow for precise control. Manus VR is currently developing gloves that work with the HTC Vive that allow users to use their hands in the virtual space the same way they would in the real world. This allows users to pick up objects in a realistic manner, use their fingers to scroll through menus, etc. This will be a huge step forward and will allow for better games, simulations, and general experiences.

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