UPDATED! A Look at the 2019 VR Industry Landscape: Are All These Companies Actually Generating Revenue?

Peter Graham, a senior staff writer for the popular VR news website VRFocus, reports on an infographic published annually by the San Francisco-based venture capital firm The Venture Reality Fund, in an article titled The Venture Reality Fund’s 2019 VR Landscape Highlights 550+ Companies Generating Revenue:

Image from VRFocus (full-size version available here)

He writes:

Every year San Francisco-based venture capital firm The Venture Reality Fund (The VR Fund) releases a report on the industry as a whole, detailing the major or most influential players across a range of categories. The new 2019 VR Landscape has just been released, this time based on those who have revenue only, with over 550 companies making the cut.

So, of course, I used my handy image editor to zoom in to take a closer look at the companies listed in the Social box on this graphic (see image on the right). I do see that all of the usual suspects are represented 😉 (for example, Against Gravity is the maker of Rec Room). But I must agree with a commenter on Peter Graham’s article, who said:

Glad to see the updated version of this graphic, but many of the companies in this list are no longer active or totally defunct.

For example, underneath Orbus is the steampunk-themed logo for Surreal, a social VR platform I blogged about before. A company that has revenue? I doubt Surreal has earned a dime in profit for this busted product. Surreal (still) completely fails to work with my Oculus Touch hand controllers, despite reporting on their Steam page that version 3.0 of the software has Oculus Touch support. The fact that Surreal is even listed here on this infographic makes me seriously doubt how thoroughly all these listed companies were vetted.

By the way, according to their Wikipedia page, Against Gravity is now known as Rec Room Inc., and is now using the orange Rec Room logo instead of that stylized A. Also, that VRChat logo looks very dated to me. All of this information could have been easily checked before publishing this infographic by doing a few Google searches.

Another thing that sticks out like a sore thumb to me is the Decentraland logo (to the right of the Salin logo near the bottom of the box). That’s also an outdated logo, and even worse, Decentraland does not even support VR, and it is unlikely to do so anytime in the near future! Another mistake that makes me question the validity of the rest of the information presented in this graphic. Somebody did a really sloppy job in checking this infographic for accuracy.

I see High Fidelity listed in this box, too. They are relying on the US$72.9 million they raised in venture capital, and I’m quite sure they are feeling some pressure from their financial backers to turn a profit, but I rather doubt that they have generated any actual revenue from customers. As someone once memorably said on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server (and I am sorry, but can’t find the exact quote, so this is a paraphrase), “You can’t make it difficult to give the company money.” And High Fidelity’s over-complicated Marketplace submission process, with their originally ambitious plan to screen every single submission for quality, and to ensure it was not someone else’s intellectual property, was a classic textbook example of making it very hard to give them money.

UPDATE Aug. 29th: I now remember who first voiced the idea that High Fidelity was making it difficult to give them money—it was Dale Glass! If you’re interested, Dale has written a guest editorial on what he thinks is wrong with High Fidelity.

There are also a few companies listed here I have never heard of before: Cluster, Salin, Teemew, and Normal. Which of course means I get to do more exploring! Yay! 🙂 I’ll keep you posted as to what I find.

SurrealVR: A Brief Introduction (and Write-Off)

And… here’s yet another social VR platform that I forgot about! SurrealVR was a platform I had tried out sometime last year, and I gave up in frustration at the time because I simply could not get it to work in my Oculus Rift headset and Touch hand controllers.

I see from their Steam page that they last posted an update in April, although it does seem rather forlorn:

SurrealVR 10 May 2018

So I decided to try re-installing it tonight (it’s free) to see if it had improved any.

Nope. Still broken as hell. I can’t turn, I can’t move. All I can do is generate supersized laughing emojis with my trigger fingers, like in the video thumbnail (?!!?). Not impressed. I officially give up on this one.