AR and VR Investment
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are the hottest technological trend in the industry right now. Initially, it has been around since the 1990s, but it’s only recently started to deliver its purpose. Primarily, it circulates around the gaming and entertainment industry. Then, Covid-19 happened. The usage of AR and VR start to branch into other sectors, such as design, healthcare, defense, recruitment, education, finance, and many more.
The work-from-home trend had become permanent for many companies. It shortens the border and expands the possibility between consumers and businesses. In the financial industry, virtual reality is used by virtual financial managers that help in delivering investment portfolio advice and strategy proposal layouts directly to your computer.
Here are the statistics you should know about virtual and augmented reality.
According to the latest release of IDC’s Worldwide Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending Guide, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), the spending amount on augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies will reach $16.6 billion by 2026.
Another statistic by AR research firm ARtillery Intelligence is – The Global VR market is expected to grow from $4.5 billion in 2020 to $22.4 billion in 2025.
AR and VR implementation by global companies.
Global giants such as Meta Platforms, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Sony are heavily investing in these technologies to fuel their growth for years to come. According to ARtillery Intelligence, The Global VR market is expected to grow at an annual rate of almost 38 percent from 2020 through 2025.
Smart glasses and headsets
Several companies such as Alphabet and Meta had dipped their leg into the smart glass market. The glasses may vary from one to another depending on the purposes. It can allow users to watch videos, take photos, and even be on a call.
The Meta Quest 2 headset has been popular within the gaming community, selling 8.7 million units in 2021. The headset stimulates reality with VR technology and accompanies by two touch controllers. PlayStation VR2 is another example of a smart headset. It is to be used with the PS5 gaming system which tracks your eyes, making for a life-like gaming experience.
Augmented reality enhances live experiences. Live Nation has been developing ways to integrate AR features with select festival apps. Which, is for fans who can’t attend a concert or music festival. All you have to do is point the AR-enabled app toward a flat surface to stream the concert. It shows a three-dimensional rotatable viewer so you get the best views of your favorite acts. Some companies, collaborate with smart glasses to provide the same experience.
Apple and Google both implement technology where you can access to their AR apps and experience the actual object in reality form. In just a few simple steps such as search, view in 3D, and view it in your space.
Some companies use technology to make the shopping experience better. For example, one could visually be portrayed how a piece of furniture will look in their room (in real size) or how will a piece of clothing will fit your body. Do all of it right from your phone before buying it or play around with different filters like how it is being done in Tik Tok or Snapchat.
SneakerKit and Adidas for example have a revolutionary 3D foot tracking system that can monitor human feet for AR applications, enabling “on-foot” product visualization. Both using Vyking, an AR try-on technology startup specializing in AR solutions for e-commerce and digital retail, to create the functionality.
Metaverse- the future implementation of VR and AR technology.
Metaverse is an integration of physical and virtual realities that would enable a realistic peer-to-peer exchange in the digital world. The metaverse will be shaped by the technology we used to access it, which could include virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and brain-computer interfaces (BCI). It allows users to experience tangible conditions somewhat unrestrained by the laws of physics.
Meta, Apple, Google, Microsoft, NVidia, Decentraland, Roblox, Appinventiv, Niantic, Valve, and many more players are investing in the space and further developing the tech that will shape the future of the metaverse.
Currently, the overview of Metaverse as a place where users can connect, interact and transfer themselves (and their belongings) across multiple digital locations. Gaming and creator platforms are the platforms that actively flourish the Metaverse purpose. Roblox, Epic Games’ Fortnite, or Manticore Games’ Core, integrates the functionality so that their avatars/players can seamlessly transition from one virtual world to another.
Big fashion and entertainment cooperation had taken the technological wave seriously, such as having fashion week, concerts, and art exhibitions in the Metaverse world. The famous Coachella 2022 that took place in April let users enter the event using Coachellaverse and artists can push their artistry capability to the maximum. The first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week runs on March 2022 and features luxury brands, household names, and digital-native designers. The event is using exclusive new tech that converts 2D product images into 3D experiences. With Metaverse, we can expect the more digital event to take place in the future.
How to invest in AR/VR companies?
Here comes the main topic. You’re interested in investing in this growing technology, and how can you invest in these companies? There are two ways.
Stocks – You can identify individual companies that you think will benefit from the growth in AR/VR technology. It can be either the company that provides the technology or the company that implements the technology. Then, you can proceed and purchase their stocks.
ETF – You can also find a mutual fund or ETF that invests in a basket of companies along this theme.
Top 7 Companies Investing in AR/VR Stocks to consider on.
Meta Platforms (NYSE:META).
We could never leave the word AR/VR and Metaverse without Meta Platform. The company is previously known as Facebook and decided to change it to Meta on August 28, 2021. They invested billions of dollars in the Metaverse. They are also the backbone behind Quest 2 headset and Horizon World. However, not to forget, the main contributor to Meta’s revenue and profits comes from digital advertising through its group of social media and apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.
Microsoft is more than just Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The company is also the main backbone that is involved in gaming as the maker of the Xbox. In addition, Microsoft also announced its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard in 2022, the house of many well-known games such as Overwatch, Diablo,, and Call of Duty. If the acquisition took place, it will potentially push deeper into the gaming world.
Microsoft partners with Meta
It marks the biggest partnership between Microsoft and Meta ever since the Windows Phone days. Last October 2022, Microsoft announced its plan to bring its biggest services of Teams, Office, Windows, and even Xbox Cloud Gaming to Meta’s Quest VR headsets.
It might seem a win-win situation where Meta gets a key partner in its grand metaverse plan. According to Meta, its Meta’s Quest had hit $1.5 billion in total revenue as of October 2022. The potential of the headset sees as an opportunity for Microsoft to uplift the experiences of its users.
“We are bringing a Microsoft Teams immersive meeting experience to Meta Quest in order to give people new ways to connect with each other,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during Meta Connect. “You can connect, share, collaborate as though you were together in person.”
Xbox Cloud Gaming will also make its way to Meta’s Quest VR headsets. It will enable users to use the Xbox controller and play them on a giant screen projected inside a Quest headset. It might be better if it allows a native VR experience for Xbox games using VR headsets. It might be their future plan, who knows?
Alphabet is another company who had invested heavily in AR/VR projects even though its main source of revenue comes from online advertising. It is also one of the pioneer or smart glasses products. The future projection of Alphabet in AR/VR technology is something that could pay off.
Nvidia innovates technology that delivers VR and AR across 5G and Wi-Fi networks such as NVIDIA CloudXR. Nvidia also built plug and play compatibility system with VR headsets. The company had to make a presence ahead of it in the virtual reality space, but is the company prepared to fund all of these new opportunities? Not to blink away, NVIDIA’s annual revenue for 2022 (July 2021- July 2022) was $26.914B, a 61.4% increase from 2021.
“We will share new advances in RTX, as well as breakthroughs in AI and the metaverse, the next evolution of the internet. Join us,” said Jensen Huang, founder, and CEO of NVIDIA, highlighting his excitement about the next GTC conference.
With Q2 2022 revenue of $6.7B, Nvidia is definitely in the game of the advances of AR and VR future.
Apple, one of the biggest companies in the world along with large AR platform, is accompanied by hundreds of millions of AR‑enabled devices, and thousands of AR apps on the App Store. The company had more than adequate capability to jump into any market through an acquisition or investment in new products.
According to DigiTimes, Apple’s headset mass production is likely to start in March 2023. Apple is expected to announce its Reality One headset in the first quarter of 2023, so things are lining up for availability in the first half of next year. The headset with escalated iPhone and iPad users’ experience along with access to thousands of AR-enabled apps through its app store.
Thousands of Apps on the Apple Store provide AR/VR facilities. For example, ARki, aid user in visualizing 3D projects in augmented reality so they can view, share and communicate their designs. IKEA Place on the other hand, lets you imagine how products will look, feel and fit in your home corner without going to the store.
Sony enters the scene with its homegrown development of its own virtual reality headset compatible with its popular PlayStation console, the PlayStation VR. It is to power Sony’s user gaming experience in VR. However, the PlayStation branding and the console’s specialized chipset may be holding Sony back from broader VR applications.
PlayStation VR has been one of the bestselling VR headsets since 2016, however, Meta Quest had been a faster headset sale since its launch in October 202.
Sony alongside LEGO joined in investing a massive amount of $2B ($1B from each company) to a kid and family focus metaverse by Epic Games.
“We are thrilled to invest in Epic to deepen our relationship in the metaverse field, a space where creators and users share their time,” said Kenichiro Yoshida – the chairman, president, and CEO of Sony.
Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP)
Snap Inc, the company behind Snapchat, sees AR at the intersection of customer experience, ads, data, and commerce. Snap is trying to enhance the idea that AR can be monetized and used as a commerce platform.
“Augmented reality has evolved from something fun and entertaining into a real utility. Our camera can solve math equations, scan wine labels to find ratings, reviews, and prices, tell you the name of the song you’re listening to and so much more,” said Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap.
Currently, Snap focusing its investment projection on the future of AR, highlighting its main app Snapchat, its Camera Kit AR software development kit, and its Spectacles AR glasses platform.
In Snap Partner Summit last April, Snap introduced its new in-app destination within Snapchat called “Dress Up”. It features AR fashion and virtual try-on experiences. It turns photos into 3D assets and allows retailers to integrate with Snapchat’s AR shopping technology within their own websites and apps. Its main purpose is to ease the process of AR asset creation. Plus, in early 2022, Snap rolled out real-time pricing and product details to enhance its AR shopping listings.
Snap’s first global partner, Puma using the Camera Kit integration in allowing shoppers to virtually try on its sneakers.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are still fairly new technology with much broader areas to experiment on. It leaves much room for opportunities in bringing the best of both applications of technology to the real world as well as enhancing the virtual world.
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