Ever since the word “virtual reality” was introduced by Jaron Lanier in the 1980s, it has evolved from a hypothetical in films like the Matrix to a hot new item that the tech behemoths are rushing to produce. It has expanded from the United States to China.
China’s virtual reality scene has a handful of features that are different from overseas competitors. Virtual reality (VR) is expected to boom in China, despite a string of obstacles holding back the industry, according to a report recently released by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
China’s virtual reality scene differs from its overseas competitors in the following aspects:
1.VR R&D is dominated by startups in China. Large companies lead in virtual reality R&D abroad, while startups mainly develop VR content.
2. The production costs – and retail price – of VR products are lower in China than in overseas countries.
3. The development cycle is relatively short, and there is a homogeneity issue in China’s market. Overseas markets are more mature, and see a longer development cycle, with different products serving various groups of consumers.
The report listed the following challenges in China’s VR industry:
Mainstream high-definition VR hardware is bulky and cumbersome, with cables connected to them. Processing capacity is another obstacle in virtual reality, where hardware needs to process much more information than in traditional media.
Most virtual reality software is highly exclusive to certain VR headsets, and compatibility is a major obstacle to VR software growth.
Currently the application of virtual reality is mainly limited within military and higher education research fields, largely leaving out other areas of education, and the consumer products sector.
Immersion and interaction are another challenge in virtual reality. So far, virtual reality technology has made great strides in visual effects, but given comparatively less attention to audio effects.
The report concluded that China’s virtual reality industry is going to explode, and reach a state of fast growth.
China’s VR market is expected to reach about USD 8.5 billion by 2020, according to Bloomberg.