Suddenly, Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of virtual reality hardware maker Oculus doesn’t sound quite so crazy.
Market researcher TrendForce said Thursday that the total value of the virtual reality market, including both hardware and software, will reach $70 billion by 2020.
That would be a tenfold increase from the $6.7 billion that TrendForce expects the industry to generate next year. But even that understates the market, TrendForce insists.
“These explosive growth projections actually do not sufficiently reflect just how hot the VR industry is right now,” TrendForce wearable device analyst Jason Tsai said in a statement. “The figures do not include the value of non-commercial uses of VR technology. For example, the industry is currently pushing the development of free software and do-it-yourself apps. While these projects do not immediately generate revenue for the developers, they [still] have a vital role.”
Things are, of course, just getting started, but TrendForce points to big investments from Facebook and Google as well as recent experiments by the <a href="http://National Basketball Association and New York Times.
“The development of the VR industry is not solely based on wearable devices launched by major hardware vendors such as Sony, Oculus and HTC,” Tsai said. “Much of the growth drive also comes from independent developers that contribute innovative apps to the VR industry. Their market value is not often reflected in the data. Since making apps does not have a high entry barrier, there has been a proliferation of non-commercial software made by students, independent developers and content providers.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.