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Virtual reality sales to hit 30 million by 2020

Virtual reality headset sales could reach 30 million by 2020, with sales to exceed £2.5 billion.

Juniper Research claims over three millions hardware sales will occur next year, but a large burst of sales will happen between 2016 and 2020.

Developers adopting the virtual reality platforms available will be part of the sharp incline in sales, alongside Project Morpheus, Oculus Rift, and other virtual reality headsets finally launching onto the consumer market.

“The recent attention to and investment into virtual reality is helping to revitalise the industry and with major brand commercial launches imminent," said co-author of the report, Joe Crabtree. "There is huge potential for rapid market expansion.”

The biggest sales region will be North America, accounting for over 50 per cent of the hardware sales in 2020. South-East Asia and Western Europe will both contribute to the sales as well, but emerging markets may take more time to start buying virtual reality headsets.

Video and gaming will be the two main markets for virtual reality at the start. Gaming is already a core part of the virtual reality world, but being able to watch a movie in a virtual cinema is apparently going to be a big seller for less gaming-focused consumers.

In the future, we might see some diversity. Already sports teams are using virtual reality to analyse their own performance and prepare for games. The NFL is using an Oculus Rift with custom software, to allow more intense virtual training sessions.

Industrial and healthcare could come next. Health services have already taken a good look at Google Glass, the augmented reality headset that allows information to show up in front of the wearer. Several health organisations have pushed for the technology to be adopted to give medical staff a first hand look at the patient from the surgeon’s perspective.