Los Altos, CA—Virtual reality (VR) is all the rage these days, with much attention focused on innovative professional VR content and the high-end tools needed to create it.
However, The User-Generated VR Revolution, a new study by Suite 48 Analytics, hosts of the annual Mobile Photo Connect conference, predicts the market’s principal driver will soon be content that’s created by average consumers. This is a result of the many innovative VR cameras and smartphone apps coming to market. These devices enable users to capture 360° photos and videos—and present these in an engaging and immersive manner.
While it is hard to predict when exactly user-generated VR imagery will achieve mainstream adoption, the study reports that important conditions are already in place that will drive this market substantially beyond early adopters.
In the early days of VR, content creation required multiple steps, products and significant skill sets. Today, however, solutions exist that empower the frictionless creation of VR content. This content can now be captured through smartphones with rich computational photography apps. It can also be captured with single wide-angle cameras that don’t require stitching. Or by multiple sensor cameras that offer integrated “black box” stitching solutions.
It’s this continuum of options currently available—ranging from free apps to multi-sensor $1,500 cameras (the maximum price point for inclusion in the study)—that strikes Hans Hartman as being particularly beneficial for such a nascent market. Hartman is the principal researcher and cochair of Mobile Photo Connect.
“The 360° consumer imaging market is neither a low-end image capture market challenged to work its way up to higher end offerings nor a high-end market that needs to add lower end and lower cost devices in order to expand to mass market scale. This market is already firing on all cylinders,” explained Hartman.
Also, compared to the past when consumers needed to use plug-ins or were restricted to viewing VR content in specific browsers, today’s viewing and sharing solutions on social media and mainstream photo/video-sharing platforms are much more ubiquitous. Still, more is needed, as is detailed in the study.
The User-Generated VR Revolution study includes:
1. A deep-dive into what constitutes VR and 360° imagery.
2. A summary review of 19 leading cameras and smartphone apps that enable consumers to capture engaging and immersive 360° photos and/or videos. These solutions fall into the following categories:
4. Specific recommendations for various imaging ecosystem players to leverage or further drive the nascent user-generated VR market. These players include VR camera vendors, photo- and video-sharing platforms, general camera vendors, plus action cam and drone vendors. They also include app and software vendors, live video-streaming vendors and photo print product vendors.
Suite 48 Analytics is a leading research and analysis firm for the mobile photography market. The company conducts app market analysis and research among smartphone and tablet users. Suite 48 Analytics also organizes the annual Mobile Photo Connect. The executive conference focused on promoting innovation and partnerships in the mobile photography ecosystem. suite48a.com