TrendForce places the total market value of virtual reality hardware and software at a whopping $70 billion by 2020.
The forecast shows that the VR hardware should raise $20 billion in sales five years from now, while the software industry will cash in around $50 billion from VR products and services.
At the beginning of 2016, several big names announced the launch of virtual reality goggles, such as Valve/HTC, Sony or Oculus. Estimations made by TrendForce put the VR-generated revenue at around $6.7 billion for next year. Most VR manufacturing companies will profit due to the prohibitive buy-in costs. This puts the next year's market level for VR equipment and software at about ten times lower than the five-year projection.
"These explosive growth projections actually do not sufficiently reflect just how hot the VR industry is right now," Jason Tsai, TrendForce wearable device analyst, said.
Tsai mentioned that the hefty sum does not take into account VR technology's non-commercial use value. He pointed out that, even if do-it-yourself apps and free software will generate zero revenue, they will help familiarize users with the devices and with the benefits of using the new gizmos.
Tsai sees a lot of growth drive hinging on contribution from independent developers, who could bring innovation and new perspectives to the VR industry.
Another strong point for the expanding virtual reality market will be social media, according to TrendForce. Sharing the VR headset user-created content will be a cornerstone in increasing their popularity.
Several other research ventures estimated the growth of the VR market, but TrendForce is the most optimistic of the bunch. Digi-Capital calculated VR income at $30 billion by 2020, and placed its bets on augmented reality devices that should cash in around $120 billion. In October, IHS projected that 38 million VR million headsets will find their owners by 2020, leading to annual hardware expenditures of $2.7 billion.
Not everyone seems to agree, though.
"$70 billion assumes that VR is a mature and mainstream market.[...] There are no players in any part of the market that could turn this industry into a $70 billion industry in 4 years". VR Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, Anshel Sag, declared.