VR is here and it has hit a milestone. Six months after its global launch, Samsung Gear VR reached 1 million users in a single month mark, Oculus revealed.
The steady increase in Gear VR sales is an encouraging news to the VR community. With a massive user base, new content developers could be attracted to the platform. Analysts at SuperData Research, a gaming research company, revealed that the VR market could grow to $40 billion in revenues by 2020.
"A million is kind of a magic number for a lot of people to start taking this seriously," Max Cohen, head of mobile for Oculus said.
According to Cohen, Oculus hitting its milestone "starts making more economic sense for others to join in." By producing a mid-tier headset like the Samsung Gear VR and motivating developers to create more content for the platform, Oculus hopes to get more consumer traction in the coming months.
At present, consumers in the Oculus ecosystem have access to more than 250 games, apps and VR experiences created by third-party developers. Cohen said the challenge is to push developers to create more innovative content for the Oculus.
"They tell us, 'Give us a call when you've a hit a million users.' Well, now it has," Cohen beamed.
The announcement also featured details on new content to be released or recently released on Oculus Home.
Available now on Oculus Home, Nomads is a 360-degree VR documentary following the lives of nomadic people including the Maasai people in Africa, Yak herders in Mongolia, and the coastal Bajau nomads in Borneo.
Also announced is Discovery VR's new Deadliest Catch VR feature, which will be available May 17. Deadliest Catch VR puts viewers onboard the chaotic ships braving the waters of the Bering Sea.
Recently released, 6x9 provides viewers the chance to experience first-hand the harsh realities of solitary confinement. Blindness: Into Darkness, is a VR video coming in June, which follows the life of someone slowly losing their sight. A new game recently announced is Tactera, a futuristic virtual reality strategy game, which will be released by the developer of Darknet later this month.
It is no accident that VR video content outnumbers games being announced. Oculus' announcement shows that 7 of the 10 most popular apps are directly related to video content. Over the past month, more than 2 million hours of video content has been consumed on the Gear VR devices, according to Oculus head of video Eugene Wei.
New features are also being released for Oculus Home on Gear VR. Quality of life updates will make discovering new content much easier for users. Newly installed apps will be more prominent in the Oculus Home main screen as well.
Facebook has recently announced that 360-degree photospheres will start to appear on the news feed. These photospheres can be created by using 360-degree cameras, such as the newly announced Samsung Gear 360, or through panoramic shots on most cellphones and software stitching. Users on smartphones will be able to look around the photosphere by swiping with their finger or tilting their phone. On PC, the spheres can be navigated through simple mouse interaction, while owners of the Gear VR can select "View in VR" and pop their Galaxy smartphone in their headset to view the content first-hand.
With this milestone reached, VR is on the brink of exploding into a new, powerful entertainment industry.