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Virtual reality (VR) in location-based entertainment is set to reach $3.6 billion this year, according to a new report from research firm Greenlight Insights.

The 2019 Location-Based Virtual Reality Industry Report forecasts and analyses the adoption and use of VR in arcades, entertainment centers, malls, cinemas, theme parks, museums, internet cafes, and other out-of-home venues, and provides overviews of major competitors in the field, including Dave & Buster’s, The VOID and Zero Latency.

Building on an expected value of $3.6 billion in 2019, the global location-based VR sector is projected to reach $11.8 billion by 2023.

This is predicted on a compound annual growth rate of 31.1% from 2019.

Greenlight Insights also predicts the number of venues offering location-based VR worldwide to increase to more than 13,000 locations this year, before growing to more than 24,500 sites in 2023.

VR-specialised arcades and family entertainment centres each account for 39% of the sector’s total value in 2019. They are the largest segments of the global location-based VR industry, according to Greenlight Insights.

North America currently accounts for 42% of the global location-based VR sector value, but by 2023, its international market share will decrease to 40% of the sector’s total revenue, while the emerging Asia Pacific will grow to nearly 25% of the global market.

Alexis Macklin, research manager at Greenlight Insights, said: “The location-based virtual reality industry has grown quickly since 2016, with industry leaders starting to consolidate. Operators have warmed up to incorporating immersive experiences into their venues, as the keys to profitability have been discovered.”

“Looking to the next three years, more large operators will be investing, and virtual reality installations will be both family-friendly and attractive to first-time users, offering more titles that anyone can enjoy, at any age and at any skill level.”

Location, location, location

One of the cutting-edge out-of-home operators featured in the Greenlight Insights report, Zero Latency, recently partnered with Vodafone to launch its 5G service in Spain.

The launch event held in Madrid on 10 June featured a Zero Latency VR experience powered by the Vodafone 5G network.

Zero Latency chief executive officer Tim Ruse said at the time: “When a company as forward thinking as Vodafone using such a new technology wants to showcase the future of entertainment, they come to Zero Latency first.”

The event saw the debut of a portable version of the Gen 2 Zero Latency VR System.

VR headsets were provided on the day by HP, one of the three tech companies that Zero Latency partnered with for the development of the new system.

Find out more about Zero Latency’s partnership with Vodafone:

Image credit: Zero Latency