User-generated VR is poised to
be a dominant market force 

VR is all the rage these days, with much attention focused on innovative professional VR content and the high-end tools needed to create it.  However, The User-Generated VR Revolution, a new study by Suite 48 Analytics, hosts of the annual Mobile Photo Connect conference, predicts the market’s principal driver will soon be content created by average consumers, thanks to the many innovative VR cameras and smartphone apps coming to market that enable users to capture 360° photos and videos, and present these in an engaging and immersive manner.

While it is hard to predict when exactly user-generated VR imagery will achieve mainstream adoption, the study reports that important conditions are already in place that will drive this market substantially beyond early adopters. 

One such condition is that – in contrast to the early days of VR when content creation required multiple steps, products and significant skill sets – solutions exist today that empower frictionless creation of VR content. This content can now be captured through smartphones with rich computational photography apps, with single wide-angle cameras that don’t require stitching, or with multiple sensor cameras that offer integrated “black box” stitching solutions.

It’s this continuum of options currently available, ranging from free apps to multi-sensor $1,500 cameras (the maximum price point for inclusion in the study) that strikes Hans Hartman, principal researcher and co-Chair of Mobile Photo Connect, as being particularly beneficial for such a nascent market.

“The 360° consumer imaging market is neither a low-end image capture market challenged to work its way up to higher-end offerings; nor a high-end market that needs to add lower end and lower cost devices in order to expand to mass market scale – this market is already firing on all cylinders.”

Also compared to the past, when consumers needed to use plug-ins or were restricted to viewing VR content in specific browsers, the current viewing and sharing solutions on social media and mainstream photo/video sharing platforms are much more ubiquitous. Still, more is needed, as is detailed in the study.

The User-Generated VR Revolution study includes:

1. A deep-dive into what constitutes VR and 360° imagery.

2. A summary review of 19 leading cameras and smartphone apps that enable consumers to capture engaging and immersive 360° photos and/or videos.

3. An analysis of the important conditions already in place that will rapidly drive this market substantially beyond early adopters.

4. Specific recommendations for various imaging ecosystem players to leverage or further drive the nascent user-generated VR market.  These players include VR camera vendors, photo and video sharing platforms, general camera vendors, action cam and drone vendors, app and software vendors, live video streaming vendors, and photo print product vendors.


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The User-Generated VR Revolution study includes a comprehensive review of 19 leading cameras and smartphone apps that enable consumers to capture engaging and immersive 360° photos and/or videos.

These solutions fall in the following categories:

  • Smartphone VR capture apps

  • Single sensor cameras

  • Dual sensor cameras

  • Multiple (>2) sensor cameras

  • Stereoscopic 3D cameras

  • Stereoscopic 3D, multiple sensor cameras

The report counts 44 pages.

Publication date:
July 2016